Radical mathematical Thomism: beings of reason and divine decrees in Torricelli's philosophy of mathematics
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 (2):131-142 (2009)
Evangelista Torricelli is perhaps best known for being the most gifted of Galileo’s pupils, and for his works based on indivisibles, especially his stunning cubature of an infinite hyperboloid. Scattered among Torricelli’s writings, we find numerous traces of the philosophy of mathematics underlying his mathematical practice. Though virtually neglected by historians and philosophers alike, these traces reveal that Torricelli’s mathematical practice was informed by an original philosophy of mathematics. The latter was dashed with strains of Thomistic metaphysics and theology. Torricelli’s philosophy of mathematics emphasized mathematical constructs as human-made beings of reason, yet mathematical truths as divine decrees, which upon being discovered by the mathematician ‘appropriate eternity’. In this paper, I reconstruct Torricelli’s philosophy of mathematics—which I label radical mathematical Thomism—placing it in the context of Thomistic patterns of thought.Keywords: Evangelista Torricelli; Thomism; Eternity; Indivisibles; Proportions
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