Shaping Newtonianism: The Intersection of Knowledge Claims in Eighteenth-Century Greek Intellectual Life

  • Manolis PatiniotisEmail author
Part of the Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 53)


The history of the eighteenth-century Newtonianism is not about the spread of the “original” Newtonian ideas across Europe. It is rather about the intersection of a locally produced set of natural philosophical ideas with knowledge traditions immanent in a variety of intellectual environments across the continent and beyond. Accordingly, what later came to be known as Newtonian physics is not the straightforward implementation of Newton’s Principia, but the outcome of this long and multifarious process. The aim of this paper is to place the Greek intellectual life on the map of the intellectual exchanges that shaped eighteenth-century Newtonianism. Contrary to the claims of the received historiography, the Greek-speaking scholars of the time did not perceive Newton’s ideas as a powerful achievement contributing to the unquestionable progress of natural knowledge, but as a challenge to the character of their contemporary philosophy. Like many other European scholars they tried to answer the question of how could Newtonian natural philosophy be integrated into the philosophical discourse without breaking with metaphysics. To this end, they involved a number of intellectual traditions and knowledge claims to produce a local synthesis, which reflected their ambition to perpetuate the philosophical inquiry of Nature through a metaphysically grounded version of the Newtonian philosophy.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National and Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece

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