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De Volder’s Views on Metaphysics and on the Method of Natural Philosophy

  • Andrea Strazzoni
Chapter
Part of the Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 51)

Abstract

In this chapter I focus on De Volder’s ideas on metaphysics, namely, on De Volder’s alleged Spinozism, as well as on his ideas on certainty and on the method of natural philosophy. The two points are deeply interconnected as De Volder’s dealing with the theory of knowledge and with the function of metaphysics for natural philosophy led him to confront Spinoza’s ideas on substance, God and necessitarianism. I argue that De Volder stood for a sort of ‘methodological liberalism’, according to which experience can offer a kind of certainty which is ultimately indubitable, and which allowed him to include in natural philosophy the conclusions reached by observations and experiments. Moreover, I show that De Volder pursued a detachment of physics from metaphysics which was historically rooted in Dutch Cartesianism, and which was theoretically functional as a principle of economy in explanation. Also, I show that De Volder’s dealing with the (metaphysical) ideas of substance, attributes and properties, as well as his theory of certainty as indubitability led him to embrace a form of physical and mental necessitarianism which led him to consider favourably some of Spinoza’s ideas, even if he cannot be labelled an out-and-out Spinozist.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Strazzoni
    • 1
  1. 1.Gotha Research Centre of the University of ErfurtGothaGermany

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