I am currently working
on two papers that engage with the methodology that Descartes uses to
argue for his physics in the Principles
of Philosophy (1644). In one
paper, I address the notion of falsehood that plays centrally in Part III
of the Principles. In the other, I put Descartes’s method
for establishing his laws of nature into conversation with that used by
Newton to establish his laws of motion in the Principia mathematica (1687). The former is set to appear in a
special issue of Synthese
edited by Tamas Demeter and Eric Schliesser, and the latter is set to appear in a
volume on laws of nature edited by Walter Ott
and Lydia Patton.
I served as guest
editor for a special 50th anniversary issue of The Southern Journal of Philosophy
dedicated to “Newton and Newtonianism,” which
appeared in September 2012. My Editor’s Introduction offers a brief
survey of the current state of the art in Newton studies as well as an
overview of the papers that are collected in the issue.
Discourse on a New Method: Reinvigorating the Marriage of
History and Philosophy of Science, edited with Michael Dickson
(Open Court, 2010; ISBN: 978-0-8126-9662-2). This collection honors Michael Friedman’s influential work in history
and philosophy of science and includes twenty-six original papers, one of
which is Friedman’s book-length concluding essay, “Synthetic History
Reconsidered.” Reviews of the
volume have appeared in NDPR and Philosophy in Review.
“Kant and Newton on the A Priori Necessity of Geometry.”
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
(September 2013) 44/3: 438-447.
“Observation and Mathematics.” In The Oxford Handbook of British Philosophy in the
Seventeenth Century, edited by Peter Anstey (Oxford University Press, July 2013),
“Mediating between Past
and Present: Descartes, Newton, and Contemporary Structural Realism.” In Philosophy and Its History: Aims and Methods in the Study
of Early Modern of Philosophy, edited by Mogens Laerke, Justin
E. H. Smith, and Eric Schliesser (Oxford
University Press, July 2013), pp. 278-300.
“Newton and Proclus:
Geometry, Imagination, and Knowing Space.” The Southern
Journal of Philosophy (September 2012), 50 (3): 389-413.
Embrace of Newton’s Principia.”
In Interpreting Newton: Critical Essays, edited by Andrew Janiak and Eric Schliesser (Cambridge
University Press, 2012), pp. 48-68.
“Descartes’ Mathematics.” In The Stanford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2011 edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2011/entries/descartes-mathematics/>.
“Kant on the
Imagination and Geometrical Certainty.” Perspectives
on Science (2010) 18 (4): 409-431.
“The Intelligibility of
Motion and Construction: Descartes’ Early Mathematics and Metaphysics,
1619-1637.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
(2009) 40: 119-130.
Review of Thomas C.
Vinci, Space, Geometry, and Kant’s Transcendental Deduction of
the Categories (Oxford University Press, 2014). Forthcoming in Journal of the
History of Philosophy.
Essay review of Steffen
Ducheyne, “The main Business of natural Philosophy”: Isaac Newton’s
Natural-philosophical Methodology (Springer, 2012), and William
L. Harper, Isaac Newton’s Scientific Method: Turning Data into
Evidence about Gravity and Cosmology (Oxford University Press,
2011). HOPOS: The Journal of the International Society of
History and Philosophy of Science (fall 2013) 3: 318-333.
Review of Peter Machamer and J.E.
Changing Mind (Princeton University Press, 2009). HOPOS: The Journal of the International Society of
History and Philosophy of Science (2011) 1(1): 162-165.
Review of Niccolň Guicciardini, Isaac Newton on Mathematical Certainty and Method
(The MIT Press, 2009). The Canadian
Journal of History (2010) 45: 614-617.
“Descartes and Newton
on Deducing True Laws of Nature.” Minnesota
Center for Philosophy of Science, 18 September 2015.
“Truth and Falsehood in
Descartes’s Physics.” Macalester College, Department of Philosophy, 17
“The Deduction of Truth
from the Phenomena in Isaac Newton’s Principia
Mathematica.” St. John’s College Dean’s Lecture, Annapolis, Maryland,
27 March 2015.
“Descartes and Newton
on Cognizing Infinity.” Central Division Meeting of the American Philosophical
Association, St. Louis, MO, 20 February 2015. Invited as part of a symposium entitled
“The Infinite in Early Modern Philosophy of Mathematics.”
Philosophy: Deducing Truth from the Phenomena.” Marquette
University, Department of Philosophy, 4 February 2015.
“Mechanics in Geometry
and Natural Philosophy: Newton’s Programmatic Statement against
Descartes.” Philosophy of Science Association (PSA) Twenty-fourth
Biennial Meeting, Chicago, IL, 5-9 November 2014; “All in Pieces? New Insights into the Structure of
Newton’s Thought,” Huntington Library, Pasadena, CA, 10-11 October
Philosophy: Deducing Truth from the Phenomena.” Georgetown University, Department of Philosophy, 28 March
“Philosophy of Science
in Newton’s General Scholium.” Isaac
Newton’s General Scholium: A Tercentenary Symposium, 24-26 October 2013. University of King’s College, Halifax,
“Kant and Newton on the
a priori necessity of geometry.” German Philosophy Workshop, Department of Philosophy,
University of Chicago, 12 April 2013.
The poster for the two University of
Chicago talks was designed by Gilad Nir.
and Empiricism.” Early Modern Philosophy Workshop, Department of
Philosophy, University of Chicago, 11 April 2013; The Rotman
Institute of Philosophy, University of Western Ontario, 22 March
Mathematical Physics: A Reassessment.”
Department of Philosophy, University of British Columbia, 11
January 2013; Department of Philosophy, University of Illinois,
Urbana-Champaign, 14 September 2012.
“Newton and Proclus:
Understanding the Geometry of Absolute Space.” Center for Philosophy of
Science, University of Pittsburgh, 24 January 2012.
“Descartes, Newton, and
the Mathematical Character of Natural Philosophy.” Workshop on “Knowledge,
Representation, and Proof in the Modern Era,” Notre Dame University,
South Bend, IN, 3 November 2011. A previous version of this paper was
delivered as a Dean’s lecture at St. John’s College, Santa Fe, NM, 22