Forum Philosophicum

Volume 12, Issue 1, Spring 2007

Janusz Sytnik-Czetwertyński
Pages 139-155

The Philosophical Foundations of the Kinematic Atomism of Ruder Josip Boscovich

Ruder Josip Boscovich (1711 - 1787), a philosopher, mathematician, physicist and astronomer. The greatest of the forgotten - as Barrow says. The author of the Theory of Everything, based on the presumption that the whole substance of this world is reducible to simple, homogeneous, discontinuous and invariable physical points. These points being the centers of forces of repulsion and attraction. His system of kinematic atomism constitutes a crucial stage in the development of physics and philosophy. The physical points combine both material and psychological features, therefore among commentators the prevailing view is that they possess rather a quasi-material nature. The following presentation, however, emphasizes their psychological aspect, especially in the light of Boscovich's fairly original attempt to reduce mental states and physical facts to one, common definition. This reduction is based on the presumption that the mles which govern both kinds of substance (bodies and minds) can be reduced to the one (and only one) Rule of All Forces. Hence, this rule concems everything in the Universe.