Universal Gravitation and the (Un)Intelligibility of Natural Philosophy

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (1):129-157 (2020)
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This article centers on Hume’s position on the intelligibility of natural philosophy. To that end, the controversy surrounding universal gravitation shall be scrutinized. It is very well-known that Hume sides with the Newtonian experimentalist approach rather than with the Leibnizian demand for intelligibility. However, what is not clear is Hume’s overall position on the intelligibility of natural philosophy. It shall be argued that Hume declines Leibniz’s principle of intelligibility. However, Hume does not eschew intelligibility altogether; his concept of causation itself stipulates mechanical intelligibility.
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First archival date: 2019-10-09
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