My research investigates the interaction between mathematical practice and the articulation of philosophical concepts in early modern science and philosophy. Bringing together research in the history and philosophy of natural sciences in both England and Europe, my dissertation dealt with the mathematical conceptualization of force in Newton’s Principia.
My dissertation thesis is a philosophical and developmental account of the mathematical conceptualization of force in Isaac Newton’s writings, starting from the early dynamical writings in the 1660s and ending with the first edition of the Principia of 1687. Broadly speaking, the project is a contribution to the epistemology and metaphysics comprised in (i) the mathematical practices underlying the birth of dynamics and (ii) the philosophical foundations of the transition from natural philosophy to mathematical physics. As a project in the history of ideas, it casts a new light on the foundations of modern science by focusing on the conceptualization of force as a mathematical quantity. As a contribution to the philosophy of science, it introduces a novel understanding of Newton’s philosophy of science centered on the use of what have come to be called models based on mathematical concepts.
In continuation of my dissertation, my current project develops the influence of the Principia on understanding the subsequent debates over the nature of force in the first half of the eighteenth century, and its role for the metaphysics of space, time, and, more generally, of quantities.
My broader research interests are in early modern philosophy and natural philosophy, philosophy of space and time, history of physics (esp. gravity research) and astronomy, the use of thought experiments and models, and how they are tied to scientific understanding.