•  1
    This paper proposes a reading of Galileo’s Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina as analogous to a legal brief submitted to a court en banc. The Letter develops a theory of the general issues underlying the case at hand, but it is organized around advocacy for a particular judgment. I have drawn two architectonic implications from this framework, each of which helps to resolve an issue still standing in the literature. First, the Letter anticipates varying degrees of acquiescence to its general …Read more
  •  1179
    The Concept of Space and the Metaphysics of Extended Substance in Descartes
    History of Philosophy Quarterly 31 (1): 21-40. 2014.
    This essay offers an interpretation of Descartes’ treatment of the concepts of place and space in the Principles of Philosophy. On the basis of that interpretation, I argue that his understanding and application of the concept of space supports a pluralist interpretation of Descartes on extended substance. I survey the Scholastic evolution of issues in the Aristotelian theory of place and clarify elements of Descartes’ appropriation and transformation thereof: the relationship between internal a…Read more
  •  28
    Argument and Persuasion in Descartes' Meditations
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (6). 2011.
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Volume 19, Issue 6, Page 1216-1220, December 2011
  •  167
    Descartes is notorious for holding a strong anti-vacuist position. On his view, according to the standard reading, empty space not only does not exist in nature, but it is logically impossible. The very notion of a void or vacuum is an incoherent one. Recently Eric Palmer has proposed a revisionist reading of Descartes on empty space, arguing that he is more sanguine about its possibility. Palmer makes use of Descartes’ early correspondence with Marin Mersenne, including his commentary on Galile…Read more
  •  142
    The distinction between the mental operations of abstraction and exclusion is recognized as playing an important role in many of Descartes’ metaphysical arguments, at least after 1640. In this paper I first show that Descartes describes the distinction between abstraction and exclusion in the early Rules for the Direction of the Mind, in substantially the same way he does in the 1640s. Second, I show that Descartes makes the test for exclusion a major component of the method proposed in the Rule…Read more