Émilie Du Châtelet’s Break from the French Newtonians

Journal Article (Journal Article)

In Madame Du Châtelet's milieu, many philosophers argued that Newton's physics allowed one to ignore metaphysics, or perhaps required a modest supplement from elements of Locke's metaphysics. In her Institutions physiques, Du Châtelet takes a radically different approach. She contends that Newton's science of gravity requires a foray into metaphysics, especially concerning the essence of matter. Using her version of the principle of sufficient reason, she also argues that Locke's metaphysics is not an appropriate supplement to the new science of gravity. I conclude that her approach is distinctive for the early Enlightenment.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Janiak, A

Published Date

  • July 1, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 74 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 265 - 296

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1969-6582

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0151-4105

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3917/rhs.742.0265

Citation Source

  • Scopus