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Introduction

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

This book is both an interpretation of Gassendi's central metaphysical, epistemological, and natural philosophical views and an advertisement for their philosophical and historical interest. Historians of seventeenth-century philosophy can usually tell you that Gassendi was an atomist, an empiricist, or a mitigated skeptic, as well as an opponent of Aristotle and Descartes. They might add that he attempted to revive Epicureanism. However, few are likely to have any clear conception of the theses Gassendi articulates, the arguments he offers in their defense, or the systematic connections between them. This is an unfortunate situation, and I aim to remedy it.

There are at least two reasons why those of us who are interested in early modern philosophy and natural philosophy need to know more about Gassendi. The first is widely recognized. Gassendi's influence and the importance he was accorded by his peers and close contemporaries is unquestionable. Gassendi was a central figure in seventeenth-century philosophy and, as such, very important for the development of modern philosophical thought. He knew and was known by such figures as Descartes and Hobbes and is important for understanding Leibniz, Locke, and Newton. Were one a seventeenth-century intellectual who found Cartesianism unacceptable, Gassendi's philosophy was the obvious alternative.

Less well known, however, is the philosophical interest of Gassendi's system. Gassendi attempts to solve central problems besetting causal theories of perception; distinguishes perceptual from nonperceptual cognition in a way that idea theorists typically failed to do; argues for an explicitly antireductionist version of the mechanical philosophy; presents a radical account of the source of creaturely activity; and more.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

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  • Introduction
    • 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/CBO9780511498503.003
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Save book to Dropbox

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  • Introduction
    • 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/CBO9780511498503.003
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.

  • Introduction
    • 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/CBO9780511498503.003
Available formats
×