Newton on Matter and Space in De gravitatione et aequipondio fluidorum

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Kochiras, H.
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conference paper description
This paper explicates the concepts of matter and space that Newton develops in De gravitatione. As I interpret Newton’s account of created substances, bodies are constructed from qualities alone, as configured by God. Although regions of space and then “determined quantities of extension” appear to replace the Aristotelian substrate by functioning as property-bearers, they actually serve only as logical subjects. An implication of the interpretation I develop is that only space is extended by having parts outside parts; material bodies are spatially extended only in a derivative sense, via the presence of their constitutive qualities or powers in space.