On Classical Motion

Philosophers' Imprint 18 (2018)
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The impetus theory of motion states that to be in motion is to have a non-zero velocity. The at-at theory of motion states that to be in motion is to be at different places at different times, which in classical physics is naturally understood as the reduction of velocities to position developments. I first defend the at-at theory against the criticism raised by Arntzenius that it renders determinism impossible. I then develop a novel impetus theory of motion that reduces positions to velocity developments. As this impetus theory of motion is by construction a mirror image of the at-at theory of motion, I claim that the two theories of motion are in fact epistemically on par—despite the unfamiliar metaphysical picture of the world furnished by the impetus version.

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C. D. McCoy
Yonsei University


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