•  27
    Nowadays, it is a truism that hypotheses and theories play an essential role in scientific practice. This, however, was far from an obvious given in seventeenth-century British natural philosophy. Different natural philosophers had different views on the role and status of hypotheses and theories, ranging from fierce promotion to bold rejection, and to both they ascribed varying meanings and connotations. The guiding idea of this chapter is that, in seventeenth-century British natural philosophy…Read more
  •  19
    In this essay, a manuscript description and analysis of Isaac Newton's manuscript 'Of the Church' is provided.
  •  1
    The Cambridge companion to Newton
    Philosophy of Science 72 (3): 506-508. 2005.
  •  74
    Scientific Representations as Limiting Cases
    Erkenntnis 76 (1): 73-89. 2012.
    In this essay, I shall show that the so-called inferential (Suárez 2003 and 2004 ) and interpretational (Contessa 2007 ) accounts of scientific representation are respectively unsatisfactory and too weak to account for scientific representation ( pars destruens ). Along the way, I shall also argue that the pragmatic similarity (Giere 2004 and Giere 2010 ) and the partial isomorphism (da Costa and French 2003 and French 2003 ) accounts are unable to single out scientific representation. In the pa…Read more
  •  23
    In this essay, I will scrutinize the differences between Galileo's and Huygens's demonstrations of free fall, which can be found respectively in the Discorsi and the Horologium, from a mathematical, representational and methodological perspective. I argue that more can be learnt from such an analysis than the thesis that Huygens re-styled Galilean mechanics which is a communis opinio. I shall argue that the differences in their approach on free fall highlight a significantly different mathematic…Read more
  •  106
    Towards an Ontology of Scientific Models
    Metaphysica 9 (1): 119-127. 2008.
    Scientific models occupy centre stage in scientific practice. Correspondingly, in recent literature in the philosophy of science, scientific models have been a focus of research. However, little attention has been paid so far to the ontology of scientific models. In this essay, I attempt to clarify the issues involved in formulating an informatively rich ontology of scientific models. Although no full-blown theory—containing all ontological issues involved—is provided, I make several distinction…Read more
  •  24
    In this essay, I will bring several hitherto neglected sources, which pertain to Petrus van Musschenbroek’s unpublished manuscripts, to the fore. The folios at hand show that Musschenbroek read and actively engaged with Spinoza’s Ethica. More precisely, it will be shown that Musschenbroek held clear-cut anti-Spinozistic convictions.
  •  20
    The immense oeuvre of William Whewell (1794-1886), a Victorian monument by itself, has to some extent been treated in a stepmotherly fashion by philosophers and historiansof philosophy. This paper attempts to conceptually clarify Whewell's notion of necessity, which was a core notion in his philosophical project. The author also sketches in broad lines the historical development of this notion in Whewell's thinking and points tothe intertwinement between Whewell's philosophy and theology. Whewel…Read more
  •  500
    This article seeks to provide a historically well-informed analysis of an important post-Newtonian area of research in experimental physics between 1798 and 1898, namely the determination of the mean density of the earth and, by the end of the nineteenth century, the gravitational constant. Traditionally, research on these matters is seen as a case of “puzzle solving.” In this article, the author shows that such focus does not do justice to the evidential significance of eighteenth- and nineteen…Read more
  •  75
    J.S. Mill’s Canons of Induction: from True Causes to Provisional Ones
    History and Philosophy of Logic 29 (4): 361-376. 2008.
    In this essay, my aim is twofold: to clarify how the late Mill conceived of the certainty of inductive generalizations and to offer a systematic clarification of the limited domain of application of the Mill’s Canons of Induction. I shall argue that Mill’s views on the certainty of knowledge changed overtime and that this change was accompanied by a new view on the certainty of the inductive results yielded by the Canons of Induction. The key message of the later editions of The System of Logic …Read more
  •  425
    Newton’s immensely famous, but tersely written, General Scholium is primarily known for its reference to the argument of design and Newton’s famous dictum “hypotheses non fingo”. In the essay at hand, I shall argue that this text served a variety of goals and try to add something new to our current knowledge of how Newton tried to accomplish them. The General Scholium highlights a cornucopia of features that were central to Newton’s natural philosophy in general: matters of experimentation, meth…Read more
  •  41
    The argument(s) for universal gravitation
    Foundations of Science 11 (4): 419-447. 2006.
    In this paper an analysis of Newton’s argument for universal gravitation is provided. In the past, the complexity of the argument has not been fully appreciated. Recent authors like George E. Smith and William L. Harper have done a far better job. Nevertheless, a thorough account of the argument is still lacking. Both authors seem to stress the importance of only one methodological component. Smith stresses the procedure of approximative deductions backed-up by the laws of motion. Harper stresse…Read more
  •  1
    Recensie Hans Radder, The World Observed/The World Conceived
    Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 3 308-309. 2007.
  •  15
    De rol van causaliteit binnen de huidige natuurkunde
    Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 106 (1): 37-41. 2014.
  •  102
    Newton on action at a distance and the cause of gravity
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (1): 154-159. 2011.
    In this discussion paper, I seek to challenge Hylarie Kochiras’ recent claims on Newton’s attitude towards action at a distance, which will be presented in Section 1. In doing so, I shall include the positions of Andrew Janiak and John Henry in my discussion and present my own tackle on the matter . Additionally, I seek to strengthen Kochiras’ argument that Newton sought to explain the cause of gravity in terms of secondary causation . I also provide some specification on what Kochiras calls ‘Ne…Read more
  •  34
    Whewell, Necessity and The Inductive Sciences: A Philosophical-Systematic Survey
    South African Journal of Philosophy 28 (4): 333-358. 2009.
    In this paper Whewell’s concept of necessity is scrutinized and its historical development is outlined (ca. 1833-1860). Particular attention will be paid to how Whewell interpreted the laws of the inductive sciences as being necessary since the laws of nature are concretizations of the Fundamental Ideas which can be partially described by Axioms
  •  8
    The status of theory and hypotheses
    In Peter R. Anstey (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of British Philosophy in the Seventeenth Century, Oxford University Press. pp. 169. 2013.
    This chapter examines the series of drastic epistemological and methodological transformations in the status of hypotheses in British natural philosophy during the seventeenth century. It explains that hypotheses played a rather marginal role in Francis Bacon's methodological thought because he believed they lacked any physical content, although they occupied a centre stage in the Bacon-inspired natural philosophy program of Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke. The chapter mentions that Boyle and Hook…Read more
  •  30
    In this paper, I take up the question to what extent and in which sense we can conceive of Johannes Baptista Van Helmont’s (1579-1644) style of experimenting as “modern”. Connected to this question, I shall reflect upon what Van Helmont’s precise contribution to experimental practice was. I will argue - after analysing some of Van Helmont's experiments such as his tree-experiment, ice-experiment, and thermoscope experiment - that Van Helmont had a strong preference to locate experimental designs…Read more
  •  59
    The Concept of Causation in Newton's Mechanical and Optical Work
    with Erik Weber
    Logic and Logical Philosophy 16 (4): 265-288. 2007.
    In this essay the authors explore the nature of efficient causal explanation in Newton’s "Principia and The Opticks". It is argued that: (1) In the dynamical explanations of the Principia, Newton treats the phenomena under study as cases of Hall’s second kind of atypical causation. The underlying concept of causation is therefore a purely interventionist one. (2) In the descriptions of his optical experiments, Newton treats the phenomena under study as cases of Hall’s typical causation. The unde…Read more
  •  2
    Huygens: The Man behind the Principle (review)
    Isis 99 400-401. 2008.
  •  1
    Pamela H. Smith: The Body of the Artisan: Art and Experience in the Scientific Revolution
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 13 (3): 575. 2005.
  •  52
    In this paper I try to capture Newton's notion and practice of unification (I will mainly focus on the Principia). I will use contemporary theories on unification in philosophy of science as analytic tools (Kitcher, Schurz and Salmon). I will argue that Salmon's later work on the topic provides a good starting point to characterize Newton's notion and practice. However, in order to fully grasp Newton's idea and practice of unification, Salmon's model needs to be fleshed out and extended.
  • The World Observed/The World Conceived (review)
    Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 4. 2007.
  •  149
    In this essay, I call attention to Kant’s and Whewell’s attempt to provide bridging principles between a priori principles and scientific laws. Part of Kant’s aim in the Opus postumum (ca. 1796-1803) was precisely to bridge the gap between the metaphysical foundations of natural science (on the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (1786) see section 1) and physics by establishing intermediary concepts or ‘Mittelbegriffe’ (henceforth this problem is referred to as ‘the bridging-problem’). …Read more