The vast majority of canonical earlymodern authors reject Aristotelian physics and metaphysics. Instead, many of them are mechanists, that is, they explain all natural change in the material world simply through the motions and collisions of inertial matter in motion. This typically means that they deny that there is immanent teleology in the natural world; sometimes, it even means eliminating purposiveness from natural philosophy altogether. Thus, some writers attempt to provide explanations of natural phenomena that do not (...) rely on teleology. Because this proves enormously difficult, others retain, or reintroduce, teleology in various forms. -/- The section “Rejections of Teleology” explores the reasons why certain earlymodern authors reject teleology more or less generally. The section “Defenses of Extrinsic Teleology” shows that quite a few writers embrace extrinsic teleology: they hold that many natural things and processes have ends in virtue of being part of God’s plan for the world. Some of these authors also advocate the use of teleology in natural philosophy, for instance, to discover natural laws. Finally, the section “Defenses of Immanent Teleology” shows that there are a few earlymodern philosophers and scientists who go even further than that, insisting on the need for immanent teleology in the natural world. (shrink)
This essay explores the parallel development of fencing theory and philosophy in earlymodern Europe, and suggests that each field significantly influenced the other. Arguably, neither philosophy nor fencing would be the same today had the two not been engaged in this particular cultural symbiosis. An analysis is given of the philosophic content within several historical fencing treatises and of the position of fencing in seventeenth and eighteenth-century education and courtly life. Two case studies are then examined: the (...) influence of the fencing master Charles Besnard on the intellectual development of Descartes, and the fencing master William Hope’s appropriation of the ideas of John Locke. (shrink)
In the mid-seventeenth century a movement of self-styled experimental philosophers emerged in Britain. Originating in the discipline of natural philosophy amongst Fellows of the fledgling Royal Society of London, it soon spread to medicine and by the eighteenth century had impacted moral and political philosophy and even aesthetics. Earlymodern experimental philosophers gave epistemic priority to observation and experiment over theorising and speculation. They decried the use of hypotheses and system-building without recourse to experiment and, in some quarters, (...) developed a philosophy of experiment. The movement spread to the Netherlands and France in the early eighteenth century and later impacted Germany. Its important role in earlymodern philosophy was subsequently eclipsed by the widespread adoption of the Kantian historiography of modern philosophy, which emphasised the distinction between rationalism and empiricism and had no place for the historical phenomenon of earlymodern experimental philosophy. The re-emergence of interest in earlymodern experimental philosophy roughly coincided with the development of contemporary x-phi and there are some important similarities between the two. (shrink)
This paper argues that earlymodern experimental philosophy emerged as the dominant member of a pair of methods in natural philosophy, the speculative versus the experimental, and that this pairing derives from an overarching distinction between speculative and operative philosophy that can be ultimately traced back to Aristotle. The paper examines the traditional classification of natural philosophy as a speculative discipline from the Stagirite to the seventeenth century; medieval and earlymodern attempts to articulate a scientia (...) experimentalis; and the tensions in the classification of natural magic and mechanics that led to the introduction of an operative part of natural philosophy in the writings of Francis Bacon and John Johnston. The paper concludes with a summary of the salient discontinuities between the experimental/speculative distinction of the mid-seventeenth century and its predecessors and a statement of the developments that led to the ascendance of experimental philosophy from the 1660s. (shrink)
From the early sixteenth century, uroscopy lost much of the great appeal it had possessed among medieval physicians. Once valued as an outstanding diagnostic tool which ensured authority and fame, it became an object of massive criticism if not derision. As this paper shows, growing awareness of theoretical inconsistencies, the new medical empiricism and humanistic opposition against Arabic and medieval predecessors can explain this drastic revaluation only in part. Uroscopy, it is argued here, came to be perceived above all (...) as a threat to the physicians' professional authority. Faced with persistent demands that they diagnose diseases primarily if not exclusively from urine, they were left with an awkward choice. They risked making fools of themselves by blatant misdiagnosis, but if they rejected the patients' demands people would deem them incapable of a task which many of their less educated competitors were perfectly happy to perform. In the end, in spite of the physicians' massive campaign against it, uroscopy remained very much alive. On the highly competitive earlymodern medical market patient power had once more prevailed. (shrink)
This is a case study on a series of at least thirty-four sixteenth-century notebooks from the Sloane collection, which reconsiders earlymodern note taking techniques and the organisation of knowledge. These notebooks were written by an anonymous compiler, a physician who read widely in the alchemical and medical literature available in his lifetime, the late sixteenth century. In the alchemica, he devotes individual volumes to specific alchemical substances, which are connected with each other by means of a complex (...) system of cross-referencing; they are constantly revised and change appearance according to the physician's latest ideas about alchemical medicines. As a result, the notebooks not only preserve received information — they also represent an equivalent to the alchemical workshop, where the combination of different textual elements generates knowledge. (shrink)
This book offers a comprehensive treatment of the philosophical system of the seventeenth-century philosopher Pierre Gassendi. Gassendi's importance is widely recognized and is essential for understanding earlymodern philosophers and scientists such as Locke, Leibniz and Newton. Offering a systematic overview of his contributions, LoLordo situates Gassendi's views within the context of sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century natural philosophy as represented by a variety of intellectual traditions, including scholastic Aristotelianism, Renaissance Neo-Platonism, and the emerging mechanical philosophy. LoLordo's work (...) will be essential reading for historians of earlymodern philosophy and science. (shrink)
One of the most pressing philosophical problems in earlymodern Europe concerned how the soul and body could form a unity, or, as many understood it, how these two substances could work together. It was widely believed that there were three (and only three) hypotheses regarding the union of soul and body: (1) physical influence, (2) occasionalism, and (3) pre-established harmony. However, in 1763, a fourth hypothesis was put forward by the French thinker André-Pierre Le Guay de Prémontval (...) (1716–1764). Prémontval’s hypothesis, given the grand name of “psychocracy” (i.e., the dominion or the rule of the soul), held that there was a real influence between soul and body, but that this was an immaterial kind of influence as opposed to the physical kind that had been entertained heretofore. Prémontval’s hypothesis is the focus of this paper. I shall begin by sketching out the details of Prémontval’s hypothesis (Section 1), then proceed to consider its claims to constitute a true fourth hypothesis distinct from the other three (Section 2), before closing by briefly considering two objections and the responses either that Prémontval himself made or that may be made on his behalf (Section 3). (shrink)
The article investigates the role of symbolic means of knowledge representation in concept development using the historical example of medieval diagrams of change employed in earlymodern work on the motion of fall. The parallel cases of Galileo Galilei, Thomas Harriot, and René Descartes and Isaac Beeckman are discussed. It is argued that the similarities concerning the achievements as well as the shortcomings of their respective work on the motion of fall can to a large extent be attributed (...) to their shared use of means of knowledge representation handed down from antiquity and the Middle Ages. While the interpretation of medieval diagrams was unproblematic in the scholastic context from which they arose, in the earlymodern context, which was characterized by the confluence of natural philosophy and practical mathematics, it became ambiguous. It was the earlymodern mathematicians’ work within this contradictory framework that brought about a new conceptualization of motion which, in particular, eventually led to an infinitesimal concept of velocity. In this process, the diagrams themselves remained largely unchanged and thus functioned as a catalyst for concept development. (shrink)
There are many reasons to include texts written by women in earlymodern philosophy courses. The most obvious one is accuracy: women helped to shape the philosophical landscape of the time. Thus, to craft a syllabus that wholly excludes women is to give students an inaccurate picture of the earlymodern period. Since it seems safe to assume that we all aim for accuracy, this should be reason enough to include women writers in our courses. This (...) article nonetheless offers an additional reason: when students are exposed to philosophical texts written by women, they learn that women have been, are, and can be philosophers. Given how underrepresented women are in philosophy, this finding is significant. If we aim to change the face of philosophy—so that it includes more women—we must include texts written by women in our syllabi. The article considers various obstacles faced by those who work to respond to this call to action. (shrink)
Francis Bacon and the art of direction -- An art of tempering the mind -- The distempered mind and the tree of knowledge -- A comprehensive culture of the mind -- The end of knowledge -- The study of nature as regimen -- Cultura and medicina animi: an earlymodern tradition -- The physician of the soul -- Sources -- Genres -- Utility: practical versus speculative knowledge -- Self-love and the fallen/uncultured mind -- The office of reason -- (...) Passions, errors, and assent -- The discipline, the virtues, and habituation -- Virtuoso discipline -- The cure of the mind and Solomon's house -- Passions, errors, and method -- Idols and diseases of the mind -- Epistemic modesty -- The way of inquiry -- A 'union of eyes and hands': the community and objectivity revisited -- Robert Boyle: experience as paideia -- The limits and the 'perfection' of reason -- The weak mind and the virtues of a free inquiry -- Reason and experience -- The Christian philosopher -- John Locke and the education of the mind -- Limits of reason, useful knowledge, and the duty to search for truth -- A natural history of the distempered mind -- The regulation of assent: a perfecting exercise -- The discourse with a friend -- Studying nature -- Lived physics -- The appropriateness of disproportion -- Experience, history, and speculation -- Affective cognition -- Studying 'God's contrivances' -- The study of theology and the growth of the mind -- Worlds and angels -- Reading scripture -- Conclusion. (shrink)
Historically, many Christians have understood God’s transcendence to imply God’s properties categorically differ from any created properties. For multiple historical figures, a problem arose for religious language: how can one talk of God at all if none of our predicates apply to God? What are we to make of creeds and Biblical passages that seem to predicate creaturely properties, such as goodness and wisdom, of God? Thomas Aquinas offered a solution: God is to be spoken of only through analogy (the (...) doctrine of analogy). Gavin Hyman argues Aquinas’s doctrine of analogy was neglected prior to the early-modern period and the neglect of analogy produced the conception of a god vulnerable to atheistic arguments. Contra Hyman, in this paper, I show early-modern atheism arose in a theological context in which there was an active debate concerning analogy. Peter Browne (1665–1735) and William King (1650–1729) offered two competing conceptions of analogical predication that were debated through the 19th century, with interlocutors such as the freethinker Anthony Collins (1676–1729), theologian/philosopher George Berkeley (1685–1753), and skeptic David Hume (1711–1776). Lastly, I discuss the 18th century debate over theological analogy as part of the background relevant to understanding Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. (shrink)
This paper is an attempt to argue that there existed a very prominent view of signs and signification in late sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe which can help us to understand several puzzling aspects of baroque culture. This view, called here "pansemioticism," constituted a fundamental part of the baroque conception of the world. After sketching the content and importance of pansemioticism, I will show how it can help us to understand the (from a modern perspective) rather puzzling concept of the (...) polymath, or polyhistor, which constituted the ideal of the baroque scientist. In this context I will also discuss a seventeenth century phenomenon essentially connected with polyhistorism, namely that of the early modem polyhistorical collections, the Wunderkamnmern. Since such a study needs a clearly determined focal point, we will concentrate on the last three quarters of the seventeenth century and will mainly discuss works by German authors of the time. (shrink)
The articles in the symposium “Teaching EarlyModern Philosophy: New Approaches” provide theoretical reflections and practical advice on new ways of teaching undergraduate survey courses in earlymodern philosophy. This introduction lays out the rationale for the symposium and summarizes the articles that compose it.
This introductory article outlines the themes and aims of this special issue, which offers new perspectives on earlymodern debates about agency in two ways: First, it recovers writings on agency and liberty that have been widely neglected or that have received insufficient attention, including writings by Anne Conway, Henry More, Ralph Cudworth, William King, Gabrielle Suchon, Elizabeth Berkeley Burnet, Mary Astell, and Anthony Ashley Cooper, the Third Earl of Shaftesbury. Second, it reveals the richness of early (...)modern debates about agency and liberty. (shrink)
This Oxford Handbook examines the radical transformation of worldview taking place in the period from the middle of the 16th century to the early 18th century. The intention of the volume is to cover both well-known and undeservedly less well-known philosophical texts by placing these works in their historical context which includes tight interconnections with other disciplines as well as historical and political events. By proceeding in this manner the editors hope to recover a meaning of “philosophy” that comes (...) closer to the way its earlymodern proponents would have understood and practiced it. The editors also point to the reader-friendly character of this Handbook: in addition to grouping chapters in five categories, cross-references to chapters or pages dealing with the same issues make it possible for readers to consult the book selectively. (shrink)
The following essay is divided in three parts. First, while sharing in principle Harrison's hypothesis of an affinity between the sixteenth-century Reformation and earlymodern science, it questions the connection between the latter and the Weberian “disenchantment of the world.” Second, it suggests a broader group of possible actors than that envisaged by Harrison in referring to virtuoso collectors and their cabinets of curiosities who are rather marginalized in Harrison's narrative. And third, it highlights the physico-theology of the (...) second half of the seventeenth and the first half of the eighteenth century and beyond as an important temporary fusion of religion/theology and science at a time when the new science was still striving for social and religious respectability. (shrink)
It is a challenge in teaching earlymodern philosophy to balance historical faithfulness to the arguments and concerns of earlymodern philosophers and interpreting them as relevant to the kinds of thinking that contemporary undergraduate students find plausible. Earlymodern philosophy is unique, however, in applying modern scientific method directly to problems concerning nonphysical aspects of reality that our contemporary scientific thought, and with it mainstream contemporary culture, no longer find amenable in their (...) own, independent right to reliable reasoned approaches. At the same time, earlymodern philosophy often also takes seriously purely conceptual or logically consequential thought in the investigation of these topics, as our mainstream contemporary culture does not. This kind of thought, we argue, is distinctive of philosophy in general and appropriate to nonphysical aspects of reality. Earlymodern philosophy, then, offers a bridge between the kind of reasoned, objective thought our mainstream culture finds plausible and thought about nonphysical reality or, in general, the thought that characterizes philosophy. (shrink)
In Metaphysical Themes: 1274–1671, Robert Pasnau compares the medieval and earlymodern approaches to the material-immaterial divide and suggests the medievals held the advantage on this issue. I argue for the opposite conclusion. I also argue against his suggestion that we should approach the divide through the notion of a special type of extension for immaterial entities, and propose that instead we should focus on their indivisibility.
The article traces the development of Hungarian intellectual history of the earlymodern period from the emergence of the national romantic constructions of literary history to the recent turn towards contextualist and conceptual history. One of its main findings is the ideological importance of this period for the formation of the national canon, as it became a central point of reference for the emerging local methodological tradition of intellectual history, even if it was often compartamentalized under other categories. (...) From this perspective, the article puts particular emphasis on ideological constructions seeking to define the nation and depict the emergence of modern national identity. This finding also offers a vantage point for analyzing the interplay between literary history and the socio-culturally focused approaches, which can be considered the main framework for the developments of the last two decades, when these local historiographical traditions entered into an interesting dialogue with the Western European and American schools of intellectual history. Along these lines, while pointing out the discursive continuities with the previous paradigms, which are shaping even the contemporary historiographical production, the article also ponders the ways in which the inherited (post-)romantic constructions can be successfully challenged. (shrink)
The view of language is greatly changed from earlymodern philosophy to later modern philosophy and to postmodern philosophy. The linguistic question in earlymodern philosophy, which is characterized by rationalism and empiricism, is discussed in this paper. Linguistic phenomena are not at the center of philosophical reflections in earlymodern philosophy. The subject of consciousness is at the center of the philosophy, which makes language serve purely as an instrument for representing thoughts. (...) Locke, Leibniz and Descartes consider language from a representationalist point of view. To them, language itself is idealized and represents thought as if it were thought representing itself. Like the structural linguist Saussure, the founders of phenomenology and analytical philosophy give much attention to the logical or static structure of language, and stick up for the representationalism of earlymodern philosophy. However, their successors refuse to accept this attitude, meaning the final collapse of representationalism. (shrink)
This book re-examines the roles of causation and cognition in earlymodern philosophy. The standard historical narrative suggests that earlymodern thinkers abandoned Aristotelian models of formal causation in favor of doctrines that appealed to relations of efficient causation between material objects and cognizers. This narrative has been criticized in recent scholarship from at least two directions. Scholars have emphasized that we should not think of the Aristotelian tradition in such monolithic terms, and that many (...) class='Hi'>earlymodern thinkers did not unequivocally reduce all causation to efficient causation. -/- In line with this general approach, this book features original essays written by leading experts in earlymodern philosophy. It is organized around five guiding questions: -/- What are the entities involved in causal processes leading to cognition? What type(s) or kind(s) of causality are at stake? Are earlymodern thinkers confined to efficient causation or do other types of causation play a role? What is God's role in causal processes leading to cognition? How do cognitive causal processes relate to other, non-cognitive causal processes? Is the causal process in the case of human cognition in any way special? How does it relate to processes involved in the case of non-human cognition? -/- The essays explore how fifteen earlymodern thinkers answered these questions: Francisco Suárez, René Descartes, Louis de la Forge, Géraud de Cordemoy, Nicolas Malebranche, Thomas Hobbes, Baruch de Spinoza, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Ralph Cudworth, Margaret Cavendish, John Locke, John Sergeant, George Berkeley, David Hume, and Thomas Reid. The volume is unique in that it explores both well-known and understudied historical figures, and in that it emphasizes the intimate relationship between causation and cognition to open up new perspectives on earlymodern philosophy of mind and metaphysics. (shrink)
Experimental philosophy was an exciting and extraordinarily successful development in the study of nature in the seventeenth century. Yet experimental philosophy was not without its critics and was far from the only natural philosophical method on the scene. In particular, experimental philosophy was contrasted with and set against speculative philosophy and, in some quarters, was accused of tending to irreligion. This volume brings together ten scholars of earlymodern philosophy, history and science in order to shed new light (...) on the complex relations between experiment, speculation and religion in earlymodern Europe. The first six chapters of the book focus on the respective roles of experimental and speculative philosophy in individual seventeenth-century philosophers. They include Francis Bacon, Robert Boyle, Margaret Cavendish, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Isaac Newton. The next two chapters deal with the relation between experimental philosophy and religion with a special focus on hypotheses and natural religion. The penultimate chapter takes a broader European perspective and examines the paucity of concerns with religion among Italian natural philosophers of the period. Finally, the concluding chapter draws all these individuals and themes together to provide a critical appraisal of recent scholarship on experimental philosophy. (shrink)
The ethos of Justin Smith’s Nature, Human Nature, & Human Difference is expressed in the narrative of Anton Wilhelm Amo (~1703-53), an African-born slave who earned his doctoral degree in Philosophy at a European university and went on to teach at the Universities of Jena and Halle. Smith identifies Amo as a time-marker for diverging interpretations of race: race as inherently tethered to physical difference and race as inherited essential difference. Further, these interpretations of race are fastened to the discourse (...) of science and human diversity within modern Europe. Smith’s thesis maintains that the rise of the concept of race in philosophy begins with a divorcing of the soul from human nature and a movement to a naturalistic classification of human beings through taxonomies (e.g. botany, mineralogy and zoology), which dissolved into this dichotomy: an essential difference between people of reason and people of nature. (shrink)
17th-century Iberian and Italian scholastics had a concept of a truthmaker [verificativum] similar to that found in contemporary metaphysical debates. I argue that the 17th-century notion of a truthmaker can be illuminated by a prevalent 17th-century theory of truth according to which the truth of a proposition is the mereological sum of that proposition and its intentional object. I explain this theory of truth and then spell out the account of truthmaking it entails.
We have been accustomed at least since Kant and mainstream history of philosophy to distinguish between the ‘mechanical’ and the ‘teleological’; between a fully mechanistic, quantitative science of Nature exemplified by Newton and a teleological, qualitative approach to living beings ultimately expressed in the concept of ‘organism’ – a purposive entity, or at least an entity possessed of functions. The beauty of this distinction is that it seems to make intuitive sense and to map onto historical and conceptual constellations in (...) medicine, physiology and the related natural -philosophical discussions on the status of the body versus that of the machine. In this presentation I argue that the distinction between mechanism and teleology is imprecise and flawed, on the basis of a series of examples: the presence of ‘functional’ or ‘purposive’ features even in Cartesian physiology; work such as that of Richard Lower’s on animal respiration; the fact that the model of the ‘body-machine’ is not at all a mechanistic reduction of organismic properties to basic physical properties but on the contrary a way of emphasizing the uniqueness of organic life; and the concept of ‘animal economy’ in vitalist medical theory, which I present as a kind of ‘teleo-mechanistic’ concept of organism – neither mechanical nor teleological. (shrink)
In this introduction, we explain our choice to approach the topic of space from a cosmological perspective, that is, by studying the conceptions of space that were implicitly or explicitly entailed by ancient, medieval and earlymodern representations of the cosmos, and the role that imagination played in those conceptions. We compare our approach with those of Alexandre Koyré and Edward Grant, and we present the two important issues this book intends to shed light on, namely the continuity (...) and discontinuity between ancient, medieval, and earlymodern conceptions of space and the cosmos; and the role that metaphysical, cosmological, and theological considerations played in the elaboration of new theories of space in the course of history. This chapter also presents the main, recurring themes of this book: the relation between place and space; the notion of imaginary spaces; the role played by thought experiments in discussions concerning the nature of space and the structure of the cosmos; the impact of the condemnation of 1277 on subsequent theories of space; and the relation between God’s immensity and the infinity of space. (shrink)
This paper attempts to shed light on Kant’s distinction between things in themselves and appearances. It draws on the earlymodern debate about the nature of divine knowledge which resonates in Kant’s lectures on metaphysics and natural theology. The problem as to how divine foreknowledge of human actions is compatible with their freedom is of particular relevance, since the solution to the problem of human freedom is at the core of transcendental idealism. Philosophers such as Molina take divine (...) cognition of free human acts to arise independently of objects external to the divine mind and to be concerned first and foremost with mind-internal ideas. This strategy is crucial for solving an important puzzle, as it shows that a two-world and a two-aspect reading of the distinction are compatible after all, since – at least in the sense of a conceptual possibility – things in themselves have correlates. (shrink)
This paper examines the pressures leading two very different EarlyModern philosophers, Descartes and Locke, to invoke two ways in which thought is directed at objects. According to both philosophers, I argue, the same idea can simultaneously count as “of” two different objects—in two different senses of the phrase ‘idea of’. One kind of intentional directedness is invoked in answering the question What is it to think that thus-and-so? The other kind is invoked in answering the question What (...) accounts for the success of our proper methods of inquiry? For Descartes as well as Locke, the two kinds of “ofness” come apart as a result of strong rationalist commitments. However, I will suggest that even if we reject such commitments, we go wrong if we assume that a single kind of intentional directedness suffices to address both questions. (shrink)
Vitalism, from its earlymodern to its Enlightenment forms (from Glisson and Willis to La Caze and Barthez), is notoriously opposed to intervention into the living sphere. Experiment, quantification, measurement are all ‘vivisectionist’, morally suspect and worse, they alter and warp the ‘life’ of the subject. They are good for studying corpses, not living individuals. This much is well known, and it has disqualified vitalist medicine from having a place in standard histories of medicine, until recent, post-Foucauldian maneuvers (...) have sought to change the situation (but for unrelated, contextualist reasons). What is perhaps more suprising is that if we consider the emergence of medical ‘theory’ as a whole, from Harvey through to Locke and Sydenham, is the presence of a sustained anti-experimentalist line of argument, and this from the ‘empiricist’ (not Cartesian or Boerhaavian rationalist) side. It would seem then that ‘empiricks’, medical empiricists and other protagonists of an ‘embodied empiricism’ are not Boylean experimentalists who seek to map out Nature in its transparency, but deliberately archaic, Hippocratic observers of living bodies. (shrink)
For Erasmus, the two fountains streaming milky juice—a new mother’s breasts—represent powerful symbols of love and authority. Erasmus describes the mother’s breasts as fountains oozing love to the sucking child. Elizabeth Clinton extends the image of Mother to represent God, reminding the nursing mother that when she looks on her sucking child, she should remember that she is God’s new born babe, sucking His instruction and His word, even as the babe sucks her breast. Dorothy Leigh extends the image of (...) the nursing mother to an image of Christ himself. Mother’s love, especially a breast-feeding or “lying in” mother’s love, is one of the most authoritatively gendered representations of love. Issues of gender and authority converge often around the image of the breast-feeding mother. Drawing on the image of the nursing mother, Dorothy Leigh and other earlymodern writers actively engaged in the most contentious and public debates of their day, including the authority of men, preachers and kings. (shrink)
This paper analyzes the theory of mixtures, material substances and corpuscles put forward by the Portuguese Thomistic philosopher Francisco Soares Lusitano. It has been argued that the incapacity of the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition to reconcile an Aristotelian theory of mixtures with hylomorphism opened the way to the triumph of atomism in the seventeenth century. By analyzing Soares Lusitano’s theory of mixtures, this paper aims to demonstrate that earlymodern Thomism not only rendered the Aristotelian notion of elements compatible with (...) the metaphysical bases of hylomorphism, but further incorporated an explanation of physical phenomena based upon the notion that bodies were basically made up of small and subtle corpuscles. By doing so, it shows that, contrary to what is so often claimed, earlymodern corpuscularism was not intrinsically incompatible with late Aristotelian philosophy. (shrink)
Difficulties with periodization are often symptoms of internal diseases affecting the history of philosophy. Renaissance scholars and historians of earlymodern philosophy represent two scholarly communities that do not communicate with each other, as if an abrupt change of scenery had taken place from the sixteenth to the seventeenth century, from the age of Campanella to the age of Descartes. The assumption of an arbitrary division between these two periods continues to have unfortunate effects on the study of (...) the history of philosophy. This chapter provides a diagnosis of this problem by looking at the way in which periodization crystallized in the history of philosophy. It then lays a foundation for attempting a new approach to this issue, which consists in mapping direct connections and conceptual links of seventeenth-century philosophers with the philosophies of the Renaissance. We intend to shift the weight from the problem of assessing the ‘modernity’ of Renaissance philosophers to the creation of a space of interaction between Renaissance and earlymodern thinkers in the spirit of ‘conversation’, with special attention to tracing sources, direct allusions, confutations and continuities. (shrink)
ABSTRACTIn the past millennium, there have been thousands of polities in Europe and millions of laws. This article contributes to efforts by historians and sociologists to make some sense of this sprawl by constructing common types of law and legal change. Such types constitute distinctive patterns by which historical actors change names, ideas, and applications of rules of law under various circumstances. Three classic forms of change, namely legislation, mutation of custom, and judge‐made law, were described by Max Weber. To (...) Weber's model I add four new types or motifs of change, which I dub legal deeds, voice‐supersession, legal fictions, and anthropological expansion. The major advance of the four motifs is that they each combine what could be called a semantic and a social view of legal change. That is, they take seriously the fact that law is often bound in a self‐conscious tradition of thought and practice. But each motif of change is also characterized by a typified social configuration of legal operators and legal subjects, who apply competing ideas to one another in distinctive ways. The paradigm of law in which the four motifs are embedded is evolutionary, pluralist, and liberal in that it posits creative social organization by multiple, independent, interacting individuals in society, weaving cumulative, complex orders.This theory makes several significant scholarly interventions. First, it attempts to reconcile outstanding semantic and social theories of legal change. Second, it historicizes legal pluralism while giving evolutionary theory a healthy dose of contingency. Third, the four motifs should also be serviceable to intellectual historians as tools for describing how historical actors interact with traditions generally. Tradition need not be viewed as conservative or even overwhelmingly static. This paradigm may help historians and social scientists assess how the force of the status quo balances against the power of individuals to innovate. (shrink)
Built in between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century in a mountainous region in Romania, the Peleş Castle and its gardens were conceived according to the mid sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries landscape design principles. Thus, the surrounding landscape, the park and gardens at the royal residence in Sinaia make up an overall image of a Mannerist landscape in which the Villa or, in this case, the castle, is integrated in a complex (...) allegorical, alchemical and political programme. To explore this chronologically incongruent design and to explore gardening principles perhaps invisible in plain sight for modern eyes, the following study aims to emphasize the presence of earlymodern Western European gardens in the design of the park and gardens at Peleş. This analysis will also reveal the various ways in which, by manipulating nature according to Late Renaissance and Mannerism principles, nature was staged to achieve political goals. (shrink)
In his Pensées, Blaise Pascal gives vivid voice to both the wonder and anxiety that many earlymodern thinkers felt towards infinity. Contemplating our place between the infinite expanse of space and the infinite divisibility of matter, Pascal writes.
'The History of Western Philosophy of Religion' brings together an international team of over 100 leading scholars to provide authoritative exposition of how history's most important philosophical thinkers - from antiquity to the present day - have sought to analyse the concepts and tenets central to Western religious belief, especially Christianity. Divided chronologically into five volumes, 'The History of Western Philosophy of Religion' is designed to be accessible to a wide range of readers, from the scholar looking for original insight (...) and the latest research findings to the student wishing for a masterly encapsulation of a particular philosopher's views. Together these volumes provide an indispensable resource for anyone conducting research or teaching in the philosophy of religion and related fields, such as theology, religious studies, the history of philosophy, and the history of ideas. (shrink)
An international team of over 100 leading scholars has been brought together to provide authoritative exposition of how history's most important philosophical thinkers - fron antiquity to the present day - have sought to analyse the concepts and tenets central to Western religious belief, especially Christianity. Divided, chronologically, into five volumes, _The History of Western Philosophy of Religion_ is designed to be accessible to a wide range of readers, from the scholar looking for original insight and the latest research findings (...) to the student wishing for a masterly encapsulation of a particular philosopher's views. It will become the standard reference in the field. Features: each volume opens with a general introduction, presenting an overview of philosophy of religion in the period each essay opens with a brief biography, then outlines and analyses that philosopher's contribution to thinking on religion, and concludes with key further reading essays are cross-referenced, highlighting the development of major ideas and influences across history each volume closes with a chronology, presenting a contextual guide to the main religious, political, cultural and artistic events of the period each volume contains its own bibliography and index. (shrink)
This ambitious and important book, first published in 2001, provides a truly general account of Francis Bacon as a philosopher. It describes how Bacon transformed the values that had underpinned philosophical culture since antiquity by rejecting the traditional idea of a philosopher as someone engaged in contemplation of the cosmos. The book explores in detail how and why Bacon attempted to transform the largely esoteric discipline of natural philosophy into a public practice through a program in which practical science provided (...) a model that inspired many from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. Stephen Gaukroger shows that this reform of natural philosophy was dependent on the creation of a new philosophical persona: a natural philosopher shaped through submission to the dictates of Baconian method. This book will be recognized as a major contribution to Baconian scholarship, of special interest to historians of early-modern philosophy, science, and ideas. (shrink)
An important selection from the largely unknown writings of women philosophers of the earlymodern period. Each selection is prefaced by a headnote giving a biographical account of its author and setting the piece in historical context. Atherton’s Introduction provides a solid framework for assessing these works and their place in modern philosophy.
The EarlyModern Subject explores the understanding of self-consciousness and personal identity--two fundamental features of human subjectivity--as it developed in earlymodern philosophy. Udo Thiel presents a critical evaluation of these features as they were conceived in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He explains the arguments of thinkers such as Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Wolff, and Hume, as well as their early critics, followers, and other philosophical contemporaries, and situates them within their historical contexts. Interest in (...) the issues of self-consciousness and personal identity is in many ways characteristic and even central to earlymodern thought, but Thiel argues here that this is an interest that continues to this day, in a form still strongly influenced by the conceptual frameworks of earlymodern thought. In this book he attempts to broaden the scope of the treatment of these issues considerably, covering more than a hundred years of philosophical debate in France, Britain, and Germany while remaining attentive to the details of the arguments under scrutiny and discussing alternative interpretations in many cases. (shrink)