The search for the historical gassendi

Perspectives on Science 19 (2):212-229 (2011)
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Abstract

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 ..

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