Encyclopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and the Sciences

Living Edition
| Editors: Dana Jalobeanu, Charles T. Wolfe

Newton and Hume

  • Matias SlavovEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-20791-9_109-1


We may distinguish two interpretations of the relation between Newton’s natural philosophy and Hume’s science of human nature. The first interpretation can be called “traditional,” the second “critical.”

The traditional interpretation (Capaldi 1975; Force 1987; Buckle 2004; De Pierris 2006; Millican 2007; Slavov 2013; Brown and Morris 2014) suggests that in laying the foundations for his science of humanity, Hume imitated Newton’s natural philosophy. He incorporated Newtonian methodology and reasoning in his overall philosophical project. The central tenet in the traditional outlook is Hume’s adoption of Newton’s anti-hypothetical experimentalism. Perhaps the clearest example of a reading like this is provided by Charlotte Randall Brown and William Edward Morris ( 2014, 19, 23). In their view,

Hume, like Newton, is opposed to philosophers and scientists advancing speculative hypotheses and imposing their conjectures and fancies on us […] Newton’s scientific method provides...

Related Topics

Newton Newtonianism Hume Experimentalism Induction The metaphysics of forces Causation Space and time Cartesianism 
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Zvi Biener
    • 1
  1. 1.PhilosophyUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA