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 and René Descartes 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)
A commonplace in traditional historiography is the claim that an important aspect of the demise of Aristotelianism during the Scientific Revolution was a change in the concept of causality, a change which eliminated final causes from science. Projecting twentieth-century metaphysical presuppositions onto the ostensibly revolutionary thought of early modern natural philosophers, E. A. Burtt declared.
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)
The wheel has come full circle. A century ago scholars were writing books about the warfare of science with theology. That fashion gave way to examinations of the impact of modern science on religion. Now historians of science are expounding the role of Christianity in shaping modern science. In this outstanding book, Margaret Osler, who is far from alone in pursuing such studies, follows the influence of two established traditions of theology on the epistemological assumptions, and conceptions of nature related (...) to them, of the seventeenth century’s mechanical philosophers. Her book cannot fail to leave an enduring mark on our understanding of the Scientific Revolution. (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)
Margaret J. Osler - Early Modern Philosophy: Mind, Matter, and Metaphysics - Journal of the History of Philosophy 44:3 Journal of the History of Philosophy 44.3 478-479 Christia Mercer and Eileen O'Neill, editors. Early Modern Philosophy: Mind, Matter, and Metaphysics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. Pp. xxi + 298. Cloth, $55.00. The editors of this collection of essays by the late Margaret Wilson's former students and colleagues present this book "as a snapshot of state-of-the-art history of early modern philosophy" (...) . Many of the usual suspects make an appearance in these pages: Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley, Malebranche, and Kant. A couple of new faces also come on stage: Damaris Cudworth , best known as Locke's companion but presented here as a philosopher in her own right, and the Cartesian Bernard le Bouvier de.. (shrink)
Margaret J. Osler - Renaissance Readings of the Corpus Aristotelicum - Journal of the History of Philosophy 40:3 Journal of the History of Philosophy 40.3 394-395 Book Review Renaissance Readings of the Corpus Aristotelicum Marianne Pade, editor. Renaissance Readings of the Corpus Aristotelicum. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2001. Pp. 261. Paper, $34.00. Aristotle's philosophy did not suffer a sudden demise with the rise of Renaissance humanism, as many accounts would have us believe. Nor did the Renaissance lack important developments in (...) philosophy, as analytic historians of philosophy implicitly claim by the absence of philosophers in their canon during this period. Rather, in order to understand the content and contexts of Renaissance and early modern philosophy, one must be acquainted with Aristotelianism and.. (shrink)
Margaret J. Osler - Jan W. Wojcik 1944-2006 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 44:4 Journal of the History of Philosophy 44.4 iv Muse Search Journals This Journal Contents Jan W. Wojcik 1944–2006 Margaret J. Osler Jan Wojcik, who served as Book Review Editor for The Journal of the History of Philosohy, died in Paris, France,..