Physics in Perspective

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 344–370

Newton’s Metaphysics of Space as God’s Emanative Effect


DOI: 10.1007/s00016-014-0142-8

Cite this article as:
Jacquette, D. Phys. Perspect. (2014) 16: 344. doi:10.1007/s00016-014-0142-8


In several of his writings, Isaac Newton proposed that physical space is God’s “emanative effect” or “sensorium,” revealing something interesting about the metaphysics underlying his mathematical physics. Newton’s conjectures depart from Plato and Aristotle’s metaphysics of space and from classical and Cambridge Neoplatonism. Present-day philosophical concepts of supervenience clarify Newton’s ideas about space and offer a portrait of Newton not only as a mathematical physicist but an independent-minded rationalist philosopher.


emanation God metaphysics Henry More Neoplatonism Isaac Newton ontology sensorium space Stoic theocosmology time 

Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Philosophy Logic and Theoretical PhilosophyUniversity of Bern UnitoblerBern 9Switzerland

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