RENEW Open Research Seminar #1: Aaron Wells – Du Châtelet, Induction, and Newton’s Rules for Reasoning

19 April 2024
Our team is starting a new series of online research events: the RENEW Open Research Seminar. The aim of the research seminar is to invite scholars in the history of philosophy and science, and to organize an online discussion based on a paper made available beforehand. The discussions will run for ~2 hours, and no pre-registration required. See below for the Microsoft Teams link and the paper to be discussed.

RENEW Open Research Seminar #1: Aaron Wells - Du Châtelet, Induction, and Newton’s Rules for Reasoning.
April 19, 17:00 - 18:30

Abstract. I examine Du Châtelet's methodology for physics and metaphysics through the lens of her engagement with Newton's Rules for Reasoning in Natural Philosophy. I first show that her early manuscript writings discuss and endorse these Rules. Then, I argue that her famous published account of hypotheses continues to invoke close analogues of Rules 3 and 4, despite various developments in her position. Once relevant experimental evidence and some basic constraints are met, it is legitimate to inductively generalize from observations; general hypotheses can thereafter be assumed as true until contrary experiments show otherwise. I conclude by arguing that this account of induction plays an essential role in her metaphysics, both in an argument for simple substances—which has an inductive premise—and in her attempt to distinguish acceptable and unacceptable metaphysical commitments.

See the Microsoft Teams link here. Meeting ID: 365 286 901 525; Passcode: 3WKxsC.

The paper is available here: Wells - Du Chatelet, induction, and Newton's rules (typeset)

The full recording of the research seminar is available on the RENEW18 youtube channel.