Cartesian Spacetime

Cartesian Spacetime : Descartes' Physics and the Relational Theory of Space and Motion

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Although Descartes' natural philosophy marked an advance in the development of modern science, many critics over the years, such as Newton, have rejected his particular `relational' theory of space and motion. Nevertheless, it is also true that most historians and philosophers have not sufficiently investigated the viability of the Cartesian theory.
This book explores, consequently, the success of the arguments against Descartes' theory of space and motion by determining if it is possible to formulate a version that can eliminate its alleged problems. In essence, this book comprises the first sustained attempt to construct a consistent `Cartesian' spacetime theory: that is, a theory of space and time that consistently incorporates Descartes' various physical and metaphysical concepts.
Intended for students in the history of philosophy and science, this study reveals the sophisticated insights, and often quite successful elements, in Descartes' unjustly neglected relational theory of space and motion.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 252 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 19.81mm | 1,220g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 2002 ed.
  • XII, 252 p.
  • 1402002653
  • 9781402002656

Table of contents

Preface. Introduction. Part I: Descartes, Newton, and the Absolute/Relational Spacetime Debate. 1. Newton's De Gravitatione Argument Against Cartesian Dynamics. 2. The Structure of Spacetime Theories. Part II: Cartesian Physics. 3. The Cartesian Natural Laws. 4. Matter and Substance in the Cartesian Universe. 5. Quantity of Motion: The Function and Origin of the Cartesian Conservation Principle. Part III: Constructing a Cartesian Spacetime. 6. Relational Spacetime and Cartesian Dynamics. 7. The Kinematic Logic of Relational Transfer: An Unwritten Chapter in the History of Cartesian Motion. 8. Constructing a Cartesian Dynamics Without `Fixed' Reference Frames: Collisions in the Center-of-Mass Frame. 9. Constructing a Cartesian Dynamics With `Fixed' Reference Frames: The `Kinematics of Mechanisms' Theory. Conclusion. Bibliography. Index.
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