The HWPS Center at the Princeton-Bucharest Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy

PANEL 05.10.2021  1 PM Princeton time (ET) / 8 PM Bucharest time (UTC+2)

Clara Carus, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the New Voices and Aaron Wells, Research Fellow at the HWPS Center will hold a panel on Emilie du Chatelet’s epistemic foundations together with Anne-Lise Rey from the Université Paris Nanterre.

Clara Carus will shed light on Du Châtelet’s account of knowledge through her understanding of ‘a being’. Her understanding of a being in its possibility and in its actuality subsequently serves as the foundation of her definition of essence, attributes and modes, as well as substance and paints a clear picture of her account of knowledge of the natural world, as I will present in this paper. 

Anne-Lise Rey will question the epistemic status of the knowing subject in “Institutions de physique”. It is a question of asking whether it stems from a form of epistemic impotence specific to our condition of being human endowed with a limited understanding or if this limitation is not, on the contrary, the starting point of a redefinition of our power to know.

Aaron Wells will lay out some ways in which, to the contrary, Du Châtelet breaks with Wolff regarding the scope and epistemological content of the PSR. I also suggest, in a more promissory way, that these differences have major consequences for how Wolff and Du Châtelet conceive of the relationship between the PSR and science. A final goal of the paper is to give a clearer account of some basic features of Du Châtelet’s PSR.


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