Francesco Patrizi's two books on space: geometry, mathematics, and dialectic beyond Aristotelian science
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (3):243-257 (2009)
Francesco Patrizi was a competent Greek scholar, a mathematician, and a Neoplatonic thinker, well known for his sharp critique of Aristotle and the Aristotelian tradition. In this article I shall present, in the first part, the importance of the concept of a three-dimensional space which is regarded as a body, as opposed to the Aristotelian two-dimensional space or interval, in Patrizi’s discussion of physical space. This point, I shall argue, is an essential part of Patrizi’s overall critique of Aristotelian science, in which Epicurean, Stoic, and mainly Neoplatonic elements were brought together, in what seems like an original theory of space and a radical revision of Aristotelian physics. Moreover, I shall try to show Patrizi’s dialectical method of definition, his geometrical argumentation, and trace some of the ideas and terms used by him back to Proclus’ Commentary on Euclid. This text of Proclus, as will be shown in the second part of the article, was also important for Patrizi’s discussion of mathematical space, where Patrizi deals with the status of mathematics and redefines some mathematical concepts such as the point and the line according to his new theory of space.Keywords: Francesco Patrizi; Space; Geometry; Mathematics; Aristotle; Proclus.
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