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Durham e-Theses
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Philosophy and science in Berkeley’s de motu

Fearnley, Martin Douglas (1987) Philosophy and science in Berkeley’s de motu. Masters thesis, Durham University.



My main Intention in writing this thesis is to give a greater insight into Berkeley's philosophical concerns with eighteenth century science as expressed in de Motu. I have written this thesis in four parts, covering the scientific background, the philosohical background, an exposition of de Motu itself, and a more modern treatment of de Motu.In the scientific background I cover such topics as the relation between Descartes and Newton, Newton’s achievement, Newton's position regarding such matters as the status of gravity and motion. In the philosophical background I discuss such matters as Berkeley's sources, the nature of Occasionalism, Occasionalism's alternative to realism, and Berkeley's divergence from Malebranche. In the third section I deal with Berkeley's anti-realist construal of scientific language, his treatment of absolute space, his attack on Descartes causal paradigm, the meaning of scientific terms, the connection between explanation and realism (if any), and between cause and explanation. In the fourth section I compare and contrast Berkeley and Popper, discuss instrumentalism and its relation to explanation. Popper's muddled beliefs about Berkeley’s philosophy of language and its implications for Berkeley’s philosophy of science. I also discuss such topics as Berkeley's conception of explanation, the difference between Berkeley's and Popper's realism; and the the role of the scientific test. I will also defend instrumentalists and Berkeley from the charge that their view of scientific theories reduces them to mere computation rules.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1987
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:15 May 2013 14:11

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