Article ID: CBB963884018

Johann Christoph Sturm's Natural Philosophy: Passive Forms, Occasionalism, and Scientific Explanations (2020)


This paper presents the first systematic investigation into Johann Christoph Sturm's natural philosophy and his account of causation and scientific explanations. While Sturm maintains that God is the only true cause of natural effects, he also claims that the specificity of natural effects must be empirically investigated by inquiring into natural forms. Forms, however, do not have any active role in the causal process that brings the phenomenon about, but they only account for its specific features. To articulate this view, Sturm engages with a number of crucial topics discussed by seventeenth-century authors, such as the rejection of scholastic substantial forms and the occasionalist claim that only God is the true efficacious cause of natural effects. Sturm's account departs significantly from other currently available early modern positions and offers a still largely overlooked perspective to investigate the seventeenth-century debate on causation.

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Authors & Contributors
Sangiacomo, Andrea
Ducheyne, Steffen
Sorokina, Maria
Andrea Costa
Garau, Rodolfo
Connolly, Patrick J.
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Revue d'Histoire des Sciences
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Perspectives on Science
Universiteit Gent (Belgium)
Oxford University Press
Brepols Publishers
Natural philosophy
Form (philosophy)
Philosophy of science
Newton, Isaac
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm von
Descartes, René
Boyle, Robert
Megerlin, Peter
Feyens, Thomas
Time Periods
17th century
18th century
16th century
Early modern
Basel (Switzerland)
Great Britain

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