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Aaron Wells
Universität-GH Paderborn
  1.  58
    “In Nature as in Geometry”: Du Châtelet and the Post-Newtonian Debate on the Physical Significance of Mathematical Objects.Aaron Wells - forthcoming - In Between Leibniz, Newton, and Kant, Second Edition. Springer.
    Du Châtelet holds that mathematical representations play an explanatory role in natural science. Moreover, things proceed in nature as they do in geometry. How should we square these assertions with Du Châtelet’s idealism about mathematical objects, on which they are ‘fictions’ dependent on acts of abstraction? The question is especially pressing because some of her important interlocutors (Wolff, Maupertuis, and Voltaire) denied that mathematics informs us about the properties of real things. After situating Du Châtelet in this debate, this chapter (...)
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  2. Du Châtelet on Sufficient Reason and Empirical Explanation.Aaron Wells - 2021 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 59 (4):629-655.
    The Southern Journal of Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  3.  54
    Science and the Principle of Sufficient Reason: Du Châtelet Contra Wolff.Aaron Wells - forthcoming - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science.
    I argue that Émilie Du Châtelet breaks with Christian Wolff regarding the scope and epistemological content of the principle of sufficient reason, despite his influence on her basic ontology and their agreement that the principle of sufficient reason has foundational importance. These differences have decisive consequences for the ways in which Du Châtelet and Wolff conceive of science.
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  4.  72
    Du Châtelet’s Libertarianism.Aaron Wells - 2022 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 38 (3):219-241.
    There is a growing consensus that Emilie Du Châtelet’s challenging essay “On Freedom” defends compatibilism. I offer an alternative, libertarian reading of the essay. I lay out the prima facie textual evidence for such a reading. I also explain how apparently compatibilist remarks in “On Freedom” can be read as aspects of a sophisticated type of libertarianism that rejects blind or arbitrary choice. To this end, I consider the historical context of Du Châtelet’s essay, and especially the dialectic between various (...)
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  5.  67
    Kant, Linnaeus, and the Economy of Nature.Aaron Wells - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 83:101294.
    Ecology arguably has roots in eighteenth-century natural histories, such as Linnaeus's economy of nature, which pressed a case for holistic and final-causal explanations of organisms in terms of what we'd now call their environment. After sketching Kant's arguments for the indispensability of final-causal explanation merely in the case of individual organisms, and considering the Linnaean alternative, this paper examines Kant's critical response to Linnaean ideas. I argue that Kant does not explicitly reject Linnaeus's holism. But he maintains that the indispensability (...)
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  6.  51
    Incompatibilism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason in Kant’s Nova Dilucidatio.Aaron Wells - 2022 - Journal of Modern Philosophy 4 (1:3):1-20.
    The consensus is that in his 1755 Nova Dilucidatio, Kant endorsed broadly Leibnizian compatibilism, then switched to a strongly incompatibilist position in the early 1760s. I argue for an alternative, incompatibilist reading of the Nova Dilucidatio. On this reading, actions are partly grounded in indeterministic acts of volition, and partly in prior conative or cognitive motivations. Actions resulting from volitions are determined by volitions, but volitions themselves are not fully determined. This move, which was standard in medieval treatments of free (...)
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  7. Du Châtelet on the Need for Mathematics in Physics.Aaron Wells - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (5):1137-1148.
    There is a tension in Emilie Du Châtelet’s thought on mathematics. The objects of mathematics are ideal or fictional entities; nevertheless, mathematics is presented as indispensable for an account of the physical world. After outlining Du Châtelet’s position, and showing how she departs from Christian Wolff’s pessimism about Newtonian mathematical physics, I show that the tension in her position is only apparent. Du Châtelet has a worked-out defense of the explanatory and epistemic need for mathematical objects, consistent with their metaphysical (...)
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  8. The Priority of Natural Laws in Kant’s Early Philosophy.Aaron Wells - 2021 - Res Philosophica 98 (3):469-497.
    It is widely held that, in his pre-Critical works, Kant endorsed a necessitation account of laws of nature, where laws are grounded in essences or causal powers. Against this, I argue that the early Kant endorsed the priority of laws in explaining and unifying the natural world, as well as their irreducible role in in grounding natural necessity. Laws are a key constituent of Kant’s explanatory naturalism, rather than undermining it. By laying out neglected distinctions Kant draws among types of (...)
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  9.  9
    Jörg Noller and John Walsh (Eds.), Kant's Early Critics on Freedom of the Will[REVIEW]Aaron Wells - forthcoming - Kantian Review.
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  10.  99
    Ian Proops, The Fiery Test of Critique: A Reading of Kant’s Dialectic. [REVIEW]Aaron Wells - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (3):791-93.
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