By ye divine arm: God and substance in De gravitatione

Religious Studies 49 (3):327-356 (2013)
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Abstract
This article interprets Newton's De gravitatione as presenting a reductive account of substance, on which divine and created substances are identified with their characteristic attributes, which are present in space. God is identical to the divine power to create, and mind to its characteristic power. Even bodies lack parts outside parts, for they are not constructed from regions of actual space, as some commentators suppose, but rather consist in powers alone, maintained in certain configurations by the divine will. This interpretation thus specifies Newton's meaning when he writes that bodies subsist ‘through God alone’; yet bodies do qualify as substances, and divine providence does not extend so far as occasionalism.
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Archival date: 2012-09-14
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The Cambridge Companion to Newton.Cohen, I. Bernard & Smith, George E. (eds.)

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