On the Interaction between Mathematical Methods and Metaphysics in Isaac Newton’s Writings: The Case of Mathematical Forces


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


History and Philosophy of Science


The project casts a new light on the foundations of modern science by focusing on the conceptualization of force in the project of Newton’s Principia and in subsequent debates in Europe. Bringing together research in the history and philosophy of natural sciences in both England and Europe, the main focus is the conceptual emergence of a new understanding of circular motion and of composition of mathematical forces by analyzing not only their central role in the Principia, but also by taking into considerations a series of earlier manuscripts. It then develops their broader significance for the metaphysics of space and time in the history of the philosophy of science. The dissertation applies this new understanding to the debates over the nature of force in the first half of the eighteenth century and to current scholarship in philosophy of science.