Inertiality in the Context of Leibniz's Correspondence with Clarke

Kateřina Lochmanová



This study deals with a controversy between Leibniz and Clarke concerning the relativity of space. Although substantivalism, i.e. an approach treating space as a substance, is to be indicated as the main target of Leibniz’s attack, it has usually been replaced by Newtonian absolutism instead, as a proper opposition to Leibniz’s relationalism. However, such absolutism has not been defined ontologically, but dynamically, as if the difference between their conceptions consisted of a different approach to the inertiallity of motion. However, this would mean that while Leibniz intended to reduce all motion to an inertial one, Newton reduced it to a noninertial one instead, or that only one of them acknowledged the existence of noninertial motion at all. Nevertheless, none of them actually denied the existence of noninertial motion, and although all motion indeed seemed noninertial to Newton, Leibniz never responded to such a challenge in the course of their correspondence.


Leibniz; Clarke; Newton; space; inertia

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