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Christian Wolff tussen cartesianen en newtonianen

Keywords: Wolff , Cartisianism , Newtonianism

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Abstract:

Christian Wolff between Cartesians and Newtonians In the traditional view on the period 1700-1750 a sharp distinction is drawn between two antagonistic scientific schools, Cartesianism and Newtonianism. The scientific work of Christian Wolff (1679-1754), which was recently called Cartesian, serves as an example to show the limitations and false suggestions of such a polar view. Wolffs attitude in the discussions on Descartes' vortices and Newton's gravitation, as well as on Newton's new theory of light and colours, is analysed. In addition, his ideas on the method and structure of science are discussed. Wolffs scientific position turns out to be neither Cartesian, nor Newtonian. The introduction of an additional 'ism' (neo-Cartesianism or Leibnizianism) is found to be premature.

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