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Aaron Wells
Universität-GH Paderborn
  1. Du Châtelet on the Need for Mathematics in Physics.Aaron Wells - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    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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  2.  36
    Du Châtelet on Sufficient Reason and Empirical Explanation.Aaron Wells - forthcoming - Southern Journal of Philosophy.
    For Emilie Du Châtelet, I argue, a central role of the principle of sufficient reason is to discriminate between better and worse explanations. Her principle of sufficient reason does not play this for just any conceivable intellect: it specifically enables understanding for minds like ours. She develops this idea in terms of two criteria for the success of our explanations: ‘understanding how’ and ‘understanding why.’ These criteria can respectively be connected to the determinateness and contrastivity of explanations. The crucial role (...)
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  3.  19
    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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  4.  63
    The Priority of Natural Laws in Kant’s Early Philosophy.Aaron Wells - forthcoming - Res Philosophica.
    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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