David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Oxford University Press (2004)
Thomas Holden presents a fascinating study of theories of matter in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These theories were plagued by a complex of interrelated problems concerning matter's divisibility, composition, and internal architecture. Is any material body infinitely divisible? Must we posit atoms or elemental minima from which bodies are ultimately composed? Are the parts of material bodies themselves material concreta? Or are they merely potentialities or possible existents? Questions such as these -- and the press of subtler questions hidden in their amibiguities -- deeply unsettled philosophers of the early modern period. They seemed to expose serious paradoxes in the new world view pioneered by Galileo, Descartes, and Newton. The new science's account of a fundamentally geometrical Creation, mathematicizable and intelligible to the human inquirer, seemed to be under threat. This was a great scandal, and the philosophers of the period accordingly made various attempts to disarm the paradoxes. All the great figures address the issue: most famously Leibniz and Kant, but also Galileo, Hobbes, Newton, Hume, and Reid, in addition to a crowd of lesser figures. Thomas Holden offers a brilliant synthesis of these discussions and presents his own overarching interpretation of the controversy, locating the underlying problem in the tension between the early moderns' account of material parts on the one hand and the program of the geometrization of nature on the other.
|Keywords||Science History Matter History|
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|Call number||Q174.8.H65 2004|
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Citations of this work BETA
Geoffrey Gorham (2009). God and the Natural World in the Seventeenth Century: Space, Time, and Causality. Philosophy Compass 4 (5):859-872.
Mark Steen (2011). More Problems for MaxCon: Contingent Particularity and Stuff-Thing Coincidence. [REVIEW] Acta Analytica 26 (2):135-154.
Graciela De Pierris (2012). Hume on Space, Geometry, and Diagrammatic Reasoning. Synthese 186 (1):169-189.
William Uzgalis (2009). Anthony Collins on the Emergence of Consciousness and Personal Identity. Philosophy Compass 4 (2):363-379.
Marleen Rozemond (2014). Pasnau on the Material–Immaterial Divide in Early Modern Philosophy. Philosophical Studies 171 (1):3-16.
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