- Notes on Contributors
- Essences and Kinds
- From Causes to Laws
- Space and Time
- The Mechanical Philosophy
- Machines, Souls, and Vital Principles
- The Soul
- Qualities and Sensory Perception
- The Passions
- Language and Semiotics
- Form, Reason, and Method
- Instruments of Knowledge
- Picturability and Mathematical Ideals of Knowledge
- Virtue and Vice
- Egoism and Morality
- Realism and Relativism in Ethics
- The Free Will Problem
- The Equality of Men and Women
- Natural Law as Political Philosophy
- Sovereignty and Obedience
- Conceptions of God
- The Epistemology of Religious Belief
- Religious Toleration
Abstract and Keywords
This article thinks about changes in the conception of hypothesis during the early modern period. It explains that during this period there was an urgency to redefine human knowledge so that uncertainty became one of its inevitable and acceptable features, and certainty was replaced by probability as an adequate achievement in knowledge of the natural world. It discusses Isaac Newton's deep-seated rejection of hypotheses and the assumption that their use in natural philosophy would compromise its status as genuine scientific knowledge.
Desmond M. Clarke is Professor (emeritus) of Philosophy at University College Cork, and a member of the Royal Irish Academy. He is general editor (with Karl Ameriks) of Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy; his recent monographs include Descartes's Theory of Mind and Descartes: A Biography. His translations include a two-volume edition of Descartes for Penguin.
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