Newton vs. Leibniz: Intransparency vs. Inconsistency

Synthese 191 (13):2907-2940 (2014)
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We investigate the structure common to causal theories that attempt to explain a (part of) the world. Causality implies conservation of identity, itself a far from simple notion. It imposes strong demands on the universalizing power of the theories concerned. These demands are often met by the introduction of a metalevel which encompasses the notions of 'system' and 'lawful behaviour'. In classical mechanics, the division between universal and particular leaves its traces in the separate treatment of cinematics and dynamics. This analysis is applied to the mechanical theories of Newton and Leibniz, with some surprising results
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