Cartesian Spacetime

Descartes’ Physics and the Relational Theory of Space and Motion

  • Edward Slowik

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Introduction

    1. Edward Slowik
      Pages 1-6
  3. Descartes, Newton, and the Absolute/Relational Spacetime Debate

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 7-7
    2. Edward Slowik
      Pages 19-41
  4. Cartesian Physics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 43-43
    2. Edward Slowik
      Pages 45-74
  5. Constructing a Cartesian Spacetime

  6. Conclusion

    1. Edward Slowik
      Pages 227-228
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 229-251

About this book


Although Descartes' natural philosophy marked an advance in the development of modern science, many critics over the years, such as Newton, have rejected his particular `relational' theory of space and motion. Nevertheless, it is also true that most historians and philosophers have not sufficiently investigated the viability of the Cartesian theory.
This book explores, consequently, the success of the arguments against Descartes' theory of space and motion by determining if it is possible to formulate a version that can eliminate its alleged problems. In essence, this book comprises the first sustained attempt to construct a consistent `Cartesian' spacetime theory: that is, a theory of space and time that consistently incorporates Descartes' various physical and metaphysical concepts.
Intended for students in the history of philosophy and science, this study reveals the sophisticated insights, and often quite successful elements, in Descartes' unjustly neglected relational theory of space and motion.


Cartesian Issac Newton René Descartes logic physics theory of space and motion

Authors and affiliations

  • Edward Slowik
    • 1
  1. 1.Winona State UniversityWinonaUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2002
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-90-481-5931-4
  • Online ISBN 978-94-017-0975-0
  • Series Print ISSN 0066-6610
  • Buy this book on publisher's site