Writing about the history of science and the history of philosophy involves assumptions about the role of context and about the relationships between past and present ideas. Some historians emphasize the context, concentrating on the intellectual, personal, and social factors that affect the way earlier thinkers have approached their subject. Analytic philosophers take a critical approach, considering the logic and merit of the arguments of past thinkers almost as though they are engaging in contemporary debates. Some philosophers use the ideas (...) of historical figures to support their own philosophical agendas. Scholarly studies of the French natural philosopher Pierre Gassendi (1592–1655) exemplify many of these .. (shrink)
There are at least three ways to write the history of philosophy. Some historians of philosophy emphasize the context and development of ideas, concentrating on the intellectual, social, and personal factors that affect the way philosophers have thought about their subject. Some contextualists limit their accounts to intellectual factors. Others take account of broad social and cultural factors as well. Analytic philosophers take a critical approach, considering the logic and merit of the arguments of past philosophers almost as though they (...) are engaging in contemporary debates. Others use the ideas of historical figures to support their own philosophical agendas. I examine the merits and difficulties of developing a truly contextualized approach to the history of philosophy by using the writings of the French philosopher, Pierre Gassendi (1592-1655), as an example. (shrink)
This book is about the influence of varying theological conceptions of contingency and necessity on two versions of the mechanical philosophy in the seventeenth century. Pierre Gassendi (1592-1655) and Rene; Descartes (1596-1650) both believed that all natural phenomena could be explained in terms of matter and motion alone. They disagreed about the details of their mechanical accounts of the world, in particular about their theories of matter and their approaches to scientific method. This book traces their differences back to theological (...) presuppositions they inherited from the Middle Ages. Theological ideas were transformed into philosophical and scientific ideas which led to the emergence of different styles of science in the second half of the seventeenth century. (shrink)
This volume examines the influence that Epicureanism and Stoicism, two philosophies of nature and human nature articulated during classical times, exerted on the development of European thought to the Enlightenment. Although the influence of these philosophies has often been noted in certain areas, such as the influence of Stoicism on the development of Christian thought and the influence of Epicureanism on modern materialism, the chapters in this volume forward a new awareness of the degree to which these philosophies and their (...) continued interaction informed European intellectual life well into early modern times. The influence of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophies in the areas of literature, philosophy, theology, and science are considered. Many thinkers continue to perceive these philosophies as significant alternatives for understanding the human and natural worlds. Having become incorporated into the canon of philosophical alternatives, Epicureanism and Stoicism continued to exert identifiable influences on scientific and philosphical thought at least until the middle of the eighteenth century. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to argue that descartes' views on the status of eternal truths and the laws of nature derive from his views about the nature of god's relationship to the creation. Just as his theology is not strictly intellectualist, But contains some components of voluntarism, So his ontology is a mixture of realism and nominalism, And his epistemology of science is a mixture of rationalism and empiricism.