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Pierre Gassendi And The New Philosophy

  • Meyrick H. Carré (a1)

Extract

Among the manifold tendencies that contributed to the philosophical revolution of the seventeenth century was a revival of Greek atomism. The ancient particulate theories of nature had been rediscovered by way of Lucretius and Diogenes Laertius in the fifteenth century and later scholars explored the principles of Democritus and Epicurus.

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page 112 note 1 In the Opera Omnia, Lyon, 1658 it appears as Syntagma Philosophicum, comprising three parts, Logica, Physica (in four sections) and Ethica; two folios of 1612 pages in double column. Vols. III–VI embrace the minor philosophical and scientific writings and the letters.

page 112 note 2 Opera. I, pp. 125–494.

page 112 note 3 Exercitationum paradoxicarum adversus Aristoteleos libri septem, Grenoble, 1624, reprinted in Opera Omnia, t. III. One book of the seven proposed by Gassendi appeared.

page 113 note 1 Opera. 111, p. 203, c. 1 and 2.

page 113 note 2 He confessed that he found some passages in the Meditations “un peu dur,” to which Descartes retorted, “Que cela vous semble dur ou mou, il me suffit que ce soit vrai.” Gassendi addressed his friend as “anima”; Descartes repeatedly calls Gassendi “caro.” The Objectiones Quintae make some acute points. Gassendi maintains, for example, that consciousness of the self is derived from sensible experience, not from intuition of “pensée” and he shows the absurdity of the theory of the union of unextended and extended substance.

page 113 note 3 I, pp. 79–80.

page 113 note 4 I, pp. 81–82.

page 114 note 1 They are reported in his De Motu impresso a Motore translato, 1642, reprinted in Opera Omnia, t. III.

page 114 note 2 I, p. 122, c. 1.

page 114 note 3 I, p. 96, c. 1–2.

page 114 note 4 The account of animal reasoning in II, p. 412, c.2, for example.

page 114 note 5 I, p. 92, c. 2, one of many passages in which he appears to show the way to Locke.

page 114 note 6 II, p. 440, c. 2.

page 114 note 7 II, pp. 458–9.

page 115 note 1 I, p. 182, C. I.

page 115 note 2 I, p. 182, C. 2.

page 115 note 3 I, p. 258, C. 2.

page 116 note 1 I, p. 259, c. 2.

page 116 note 2 I, p. 261, c. 1.

page 116 note 3 I, p. 271, c. 1.

page 116 note 4 I, p. 273, c. 2.

page 117 note 1 I, p. 336, c. 1, 337, c. 1.

page 117 note 2 I, pp. 346–348, c. 1.

page 117 note 3 I, p. 352. On the question of acceleration he combines the idea of attraction with old–fashioned notions relating to the impetus from the air.

page 118 note 1 I, pp. 414–432. Atoms, for example, that affect the eye are smaller than others, move more rapidly and are round. Variations in the speed of the atoms is produced by their different shapes.

page 118 note 2 II, pp. 405–407, c. 1.

page 118 note 3 I, p. 422, c. 1.

page 118 note 4 ib.

page 118 note 5 I, p. 426, c. 2.

page 118 note 6 Dictionnaire Historique et Critique, 1697, art. Pyrrhon, quoted in Hazard, Paul, La Crise de la Conscience Européenne, Paris, 1935, p. 143.

page 119 note 1 Pierre Gassendi, Centre International de Synthése, Paris, 1955, p. 61.

page 119 note 2 Dugas, R., La Mécanique au XVIIe Siècle, Paris, 1954, PP. 111114. Cf. also Koyré, A., Études Galiléennes, Paris, 1939, t. 111, p. 157.

page 119 note 3 A. Adam in Pierre Gassendi, p. 161 f.

page 119 note 4 Sortais, G., La Philosophie Moderne, Paris, 1922, t. II, pp. 179251, gives a survey of these atomists.

page 120 note 1 A. Adam in Pierre Gassendi, p. 159. In the Medical Common Place Book, where Locke gives indications of his studies in 1659–1660, it is clear that he read Gassendi and made notes on him.

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