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7 - Bodies and Motion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 July 2009

Antonia LoLordo
Affiliation:
University of Virginia
Antonia Lolordo
Affiliation:
Assistant Professor Corcoran Department of Philosophy, University of Virginia
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Summary

Gassendian bodies are composites of atoms “woven together” with a certain texture. The notion of texture is central to Gassendi's atomism. In theory he relies heavily on the claim that the qualities and behavior of macroscopic bodies derive from the size, shape, and local motion of tiny particles, but in practice Gassendi almost always appeals to the notion of texture in providing explanations of particular bodily phenomena. This is one of the reasons his explanations are almost always qualitative rather than quantitative. Indeed, even in the one case where he provides a relatively detailed quantitative description – the proportion by which bodies in free fall accelerate – Gassendi makes clear that it needs to be grounded in an account of the textures of the relevant bodies. His concern with the new science of motion is above all to explain the underlying causes of motion, causes that must be described in corpuscularian, textural terms.

The program outlined in the initial books of the Syntagma suggests that texture is not something over and above the arrangement of atoms in space. However, it is unclear how we could derive anything that does all the explanatory work Gassendi needs textures to do from patterns of atoms moving in space. This chapter will examine both Gassendi's general account of texture and his account of the underlying causes of the motion of composite bodies. Treating these two issues together has a number of benefits.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

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  • Bodies and Motion
    • By Antonia Lolordo, Assistant Professor Corcoran Department of Philosophy, University of Virginia
  • Antonia LoLordo, University of Virginia
  • Book: Pierre Gassendi and the Birth of Early Modern Philosophy
  • Online publication: 24 July 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511498503.010
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  • Bodies and Motion
    • By Antonia Lolordo, Assistant Professor Corcoran Department of Philosophy, University of Virginia
  • Antonia LoLordo, University of Virginia
  • Book: Pierre Gassendi and the Birth of Early Modern Philosophy
  • Online publication: 24 July 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511498503.010
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Bodies and Motion
    • By Antonia Lolordo, Assistant Professor Corcoran Department of Philosophy, University of Virginia
  • Antonia LoLordo, University of Virginia
  • Book: Pierre Gassendi and the Birth of Early Modern Philosophy
  • Online publication: 24 July 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511498503.010
Available formats
×