•  24
    Locke on Space, Time and God
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 7. 2020.
    Locke is famed for his caution in speculative matters: “Men, extending their enquiries beyond their capacities and letting their thoughts wander into those depths where they can find no sure footing; ‘tis no wonder that they raise questions and multiply disputes”. And he is skeptical about the pretensions of natural philosophy, which he says is “not capable of being made a science”. And yet Locke is confident that “Our reason leads us to the knowledge of this certain and evident truth, that ther…Read more
  • Locke and Newton on Space and Time and Their Sensible Measures
    In Zvi Biener & Eric Schliesser (eds.), Newton and Empiricism, . pp. 119-137. 2014.
    It is well-known that Isaac Newton’s conception of space and time as absolute -- “without reference to anything external” (Principia, 408) -- was anticipated, and probably influenced, by a number of figures among the earlier generation of seventeenth century natural philosophers, including Pierre Gassendi, Henry More, and Newton’s own teacher Isaac Barrow. The absolutism of Newton’s contemporary and friend, John Locke, has received much less attention, which is unfortunate for several reasons. …Read more
  •  294
    Hobbes and Evil
    In Chad Meister & Charles Taliaferro (eds.), Evil in Early Modern Philosophy, Routledge. 2018.
  •  279
    Descartes on the Infinity of Space vs. Time
    In Ohad Nachtomy & Reed Winegar (eds.), Infinity in Early Modern Philosophy, Brill. pp. 45-61. 2018.
    In two rarely discussed passages – from unpublished notes on the Principles of Philosophy and a 1647 letter to Chanut – Descartes argues that the question of the infinite extension of space is importantly different from the infinity of time. In both passages, he is anxious to block the application of his well-known argument for the indefinite extension of space to time, in order to avoid the theologically problematic implication that the world has no beginning. Descartes concedes that we always …Read more
  • The Structure of Theoretical Progress
    Dissertation, University of Minnesota. 1994.
    I develop a new theory of theoretical progress or 'truthlikeness'. Unlike previous theories, my approach focuses on the sets of models of scientific theories, rather than their linguistic formulations. Such an approach, I argue, avoids several long-standing problems in the philosophy of theoretical progress. I find in Chapter One that the most prominent schools of twentieth century philosophy of science have all failed to account for theoretical progress. I further argue that such an account is …Read more
  • The Language of Nature: Reassessing the Mathematization of Natural Philosophy in the Seventeenth Century (edited book)
    with B. Hill, E. Slowik, and C. Kenneth Waters
    University of Minnesota Press. 2016.
  •  48
    The metaphysical roots of cartesian physics: The law of rectilinear motion
    Perspectives on Science 13 (4): 431-451. 2005.
    : This paper presents a detailed account of Descartes' derivation of his second law of nature—the law of rectilinear motion—from a priori metaphysical principles. Unlike the other laws the proof of the second depends essentially on a metaphysical assumption about the temporal immediacy of God's operation. Recent commentators (e.g., Des Chene and Garber) have not adequately explained the precise role of this assumption in the proof and Descartes' reasoning has continued to seem somewhat arbitrary…Read more
  •  7
    No Title available: Dialogue
    Dialogue 48 (4): 889-892. 2009.
  •  21
  •  42
    From form to mechanism Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9455-7 Authors Geoffrey Gorham, Department of Philosophy, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN 55105, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
  •  60
    Mixing Bodily Fluids: Hobbes’s Stoic God
    Sophia 53 (1): 33-49. 2014.
    The pantheon of seventeenth-century European philosophy includes some remarkably heterodox deities, perhaps most famously Spinoza’s deus-sive-natura. As in ethics and natural philosophy, early modern philosophical theology drew inspiration from classical sources outside the mainstream of Christianized Aristotelianism, such as the highly immanentist, naturalistic theology of Greek and Roman Stoicism. While the Stoic background to Spinoza’s pantheist God has been more thoroughly explored, I mainta…Read more
  •  71
    Descartes on the Innateness of All Ideas
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 32 (3). 2002.
    Though Descartes is traditionally associated with the moderately nativist doctrine that our ideas of God, of eternal truths, and of true and immutable natures are innate, on two occasions he explicitly argued that all of our ideas, even sensory ideas, are innate in the mind. One reason it is surprising to find Descartes endorsing universal innateness is that such a view seems to leave no role for bodies in the production of our ideas of them.
  •  46
    Descartes’s Dilemma of Eminent Containment
    Dialogue 42 (1): 3-. 2003.
    In his recent survey of the “dialectic of creation” in seventeenth-century philosophy, Thomas Lennon has suggested that Descartes’s assumptions about causality encourage a kind of “pantheistic emanationism”. Lennon notes that Descartes regularly invokes the principle that there is nothing in the effect which was not previously present, either formally or eminently, in the cause. Descartes also believes that God is the continuous, total, and efficient cause of everything. From these assumptions i…Read more
  •  57
    The Theological Foundation of Hobbesian Physics: A Defence of Corporeal God
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (2). 2013.
    (2013). The Theological Foundation of Hobbesian Physics: A Defence of Corporeal God. British Journal for the History of Philosophy: Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 240-261. doi: 10.1080/09608788.2012.692663
  •  36
    Planck's principle and jeans's conversion
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 22 (3): 471-497. 1991.
  •  20
    John Locke & Natural Philosophy
    Early Science and Medicine 16 (6): 626-628. 2011.
  •  74
    The employment by seventeenth-century natural philosophers of stock theological notions like creation, immensity, and eternity in the articulation and justification of emerging physical programs disrupted a delicate but longstanding balance between transcendent and immanent conceptions of God. By playing a prominent (if not always leading) role in many of the major scientific developments of the period, God became more intimately involved with natural processes than at any time since antiquity. …Read more
  •  35
    Descartes on Causation (review)
    Dialogue 48 (4): 889-892. 2009.
  •  5
    Causation and similarity in Descartes
    In Gennaro Rocco & Huenemann Charles (eds.), New Essays on the Rationalists, Oxford University Press. pp. 296--309. 1999.
  •  47
    Spinoza on the Ideality of Time
    Idealistic Studies 43 (1-2): 27-40. 2013.
    When McTaggart puts Spinoza on his short list of philosophers who considered time unreal, he is falling in line with a reading of Spinoza’s philosophy of time advanced by contemporaneous British Idealists and by Hegel. The idealists understood that there is much at stake concerning the ontological status of Spinozistic time. If time is essential to motion then temporal idealism entails that nearly everything—apart from God conceived sub specie aeternitatis—is imaginary. I argue that although tim…Read more
  •  33
    Mind-body dualism and the Harvey-Descartes controversy
    Journal of the History of Ideas 55 (2): 211-234. 1994.
    Descartes and William Harvey engaged in a polite dispute about the cause of the heart's motion. Descartes saw the heart's motion of passive; Harvey saw it as active. I criticize three prominent explanations for Descartes' opposition to Harvey's theory. I argue that Descartes found Harvey's model to be inconsistent with mind-body dualism and this was the reason he opposed it
  •  169
    The articles that comprise this special issue of Intellectual History Review are briefly described.
  •  70
    Descartes on Time and Duration
    Early Science and Medicine 12 (1): 28-54. 2007.
    Descartes' account of the material world relies heavily on time. Most importantly, time is a component of speed, which figures in his fundamental conservation principle and laws. However, in his most systematic discussion of the concept, time is treated as some-how reducible both to thought and to motion. Such reductionistic views, while common among Descartes' late scholastic contemporaries, are very ill-suited to Cartesian physics. I show that, in spite of the apparent identifications with tho…Read more
  •  5
    Descartes’s Dilemma of Eminent Containment
    Dialogue 42 (1): 3-26. 2003.
    In his recent survey of the “dialectic of creation” in seventeenth-century philosophy, Thomas Lennon has suggested that Descartes’s assumptions about causality encourage a kind of “pantheistic emanationism”. Lennon notes that Descartes regularly invokes the principle that there is nothing in the effect which was not previously present, either formally or eminently, in the cause. Descartes also believes that God is the continuous, total, and efficient cause of everything. From these assumptions i…Read more