This paper draws attention to the crucial importance of a new kind of precisely defined law of nature in the Scientific Revolution. All explanations in the mechanical philosophy depend upon the interactions of moving material particles; the laws of nature stipulate precisely how these interact; therefore, such explanations rely on the laws of nature. While this is obvious, the radically innovatory nature of these laws is not fully acknowledged in the historical literature. Indeed, a number of scholars have tried to (...) locate the origins of such laws in the medieval period. In the first part of this paper these claims are critically examined, and found at best to reveal important aspects of the background to the later idea, which could be drawn upon for legitimating purposes by the mechanical philosophers. The second part of the paper argues that the modern concept of laws of nature originates in René Descartes's work. It is shown that Descartes took his concept of laws of nature from the mathematical tradition, but recognized that he could not export it to the domain of physico-mathematics, to play a causal role, unless he could show that these laws were underwritten by God. It is argued that this is why, at an early stage of his philosophical development, Descartes had to turn to metaphysics. (shrink)
Ethical decisions related to computer technology and computer use are subject to three primary influences: (1) the individual's own personal code (2) any informal code of ethical behavior that exists in the work place, and (3) exposure to formal codes of ethics. The relative importance of these codes, as well as factors influencing these codes, was explored in a nationwide survey of information system (IS) professionals. The implications of the findings are important to educators and employers in the development of (...) acceptable ethical standards. (shrink)
When faced with an ambiguous ethical situation related to computer technology (CT), the individual's course of action is influenced by personal experiences and opinions, consideration of what co-workers would do in the same situation, and an expectation of what the organization might sanction. In this article, the judgement of over three-hundred Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) members concerning the actions taken in a series of CT ethical scenarios are examined. Respondents expressed their personal judgement, as well as their perception (...) of their co-workers' judgement, and their understanding of the organization's judgement of the actions described in the scenarios. The findings show that there are differences in respondents' judgements for self, co-workers, and organization. Definitive patterns were also found between groups with and without organizational codes related to CT. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- Introduction -- Setting the Scene -- Plato and Aristotle -- From the Roman Empire to the Empire of Islam -- The Western Middle Ages -- The Renaissance -- New Methods of Science -- Bringing Mathematics and Natural Philosophy Together -- Practice and Theory in Renaissance Medicine: William Harvey and the Circulation of the Blood -- The Spirit of System: Rene; Descartes and the Mechanical Philosophy -- The Royal Society and Experimental Philosophy -- Experiment, Mathematics, and (...) Magic: Isaac Newton -- Newton's Legacy: Forces and Fluids (electricity and heat) -- The Chemical Revolution: From Newton to John Dalton, via Priestley and Lavoisier -- Natural Theology and Natural Order: Newtonian Optimism and the History of Science -- The Making of Geology: From James Hutton to Charles Lyell via Catastrophism -- The History of Plants and Animals: Successive Emergence or Evolution? -- Religion and Progress in Victorian Britain: Robert Chambers versus Hugh Miller -- Bringing it All Together?: Charles Darwin's Evolution -- Darwinian Aftermaths: Religion; Social Science; Biology -- Beyond Newton: Energy and Thermodynamics -- Newton deposed: Einstein and Relativity Theory -- Mathematics instead of a World Picture: From Atomism to Quantum Theory -- Afterword. (shrink)
This study considers the contribution of Francesco Patrizi da Cherso to the development of the concepts of void space and an infinite universe. Patrizi plays a greater role in the development of these concepts than any other single figure in the sixteenth century, and yet his work has been almost totally overlooked. I have outlined his views on space in terms of two major aspects of his philosophical attitude: on the one hand, he was a devoted Platonist and sought always (...) to establish Platonism, albeit his own version of it, as the only currect philosophy; and on the other hand, he was more determinedly anti-Aristotelian than any other philosopher at that time. Patrizi's concept of space has its beginnings in Platonic notions, but is extended and refined in the light of a vigorous critique of Aristotle's position. Finally, I consider the influence of Patrizi's ideas in the seventeenth century, when various thinkers are seeking to overthrow the Aristotelian concept of place and the equivalence of dimensionality with corporeality. Pierre Gassendi , for example, needed a coherent concept of void space in which his atoms could move, while Henry More sought to demonstrate the reality of incorporeal entities by reference to an incorporeal space. Both men could find the arguments they needed in Patrizi's comprehensive treatment of the subject. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 9 - 38 Hobbes tried to develop a strict version of the mechanical philosophy, in which all physical phenomena were explained only in terms of bodies in motion, and the only forces allowed were forces of collision or impact. This ambition puts Hobbes into a select group of original thinkers, alongside Galileo, Isaac Beeckman, and Descartes. No other early modern thinkers developed a strict version of the mechanical philosophy. Natural philosophies relying solely on (...) bodies in motion require a concept of inertial motion. Beeckman and Descartes assumed rectilinear motions were rectilinear, but Galileo adopted a theory which has been referred to as circular inertia. Hobbes’s natural philosophy depended to a large extent on what he called “simple circular motions.” In this paper, I argue that Hobbes’s simple circular motions derived from Galileo’s belief in circular inertia. The paper opens with a section outlining Galileo’s concept, the following section shows how Hobbes’s physics depended upon circular motions, which are held to continue indefinitely. A third section shows the difficulty Hobbes had in maintaining a strictly mechanistic philosophy, and the conclusion offers some speculations as to why Galileo’s circular inertia was never entertained as a serious rival to rectilinear inertia, except by Hobbes. (shrink)
Henry More (1614–1687), the most influential of the so-called Cambridge Platonists, and arguably the leading philosophically-inclined theologian in late seventeenth-century England, has come in for renewed attention lately. He was the subject of a detailed intellectual biography in 2003 by Robert Crocker, and in 2012 Jasper Reid published a philosophically penetrating and enlightening study of More’s metaphysics (Crocker 2003; Reid 2012). David Leech’s study of More’s idiosyncratic concept of immaterial spirit—and the role that it plays in his philosophy and theology—is (...) as detailed and penetrating as Reid’s study of his metaphysics, but perhaps more far-reaching in its ambitions. As the sub-title of this new book suggests, More’s philosophical theology is presented here as leading to the unintended consequence of promoting the incipient atheism of the early modern period.Leech’s study is clearly and helpfully structured in three parts and ten chapters. The first part, “Atheism and Spir .. (shrink)
This chapter, which examines the work of Rene Descartes and the reception of Cartesianism in Great Britain in the seventeenth century, suggests that Descartes was an undeniably influential figure during this period, and explains that he exposed the faults of the philosophy before him and pointed the way forward. It also highlights the fact that Cartesianism was accepted in the universities after Aristotelianism was significantly affected by innovations in the sciences and university curricula in natural philosophy had to be changed.