Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Descartes on Forms and Mechanisms
  • Cited by 41
  • Export citation
  • Recommend to librarian
  • Buy the print book

Book description

The modern view of causation can be traced back to the mechanistic science of Descartes, whose rejection of Aristotelian physics, with its concept of substantial forms, in favor of mechanical explanations was a turning-point in the history of philosophy. However the reasoning which led Descartes and other early moderns in this direction is not well understood. This book traces Descartes' groundbreaking theory of scientific explanation back to the mathematical demonstrations of Aristotelian mechanics and interprets these advances in light of the available arguments for and against substantial forms. It also examines how Descartes' new theory led him to develop a metaphysical foundation for his science that could avoid skeptical objections. It will appeal to a wide range of readers interested in the philosophy and science of the early modern period.

Reviews

'This is a subtle and learned book, and sheds light on a narrow but, Hattab argues, central slice of the debates around substantial forms in the early seventeenth century and the rise of the mechanical philosophy. Hattab provides important context for Descartes’s arguments against Scholastic forms and adds detail to our understanding of both the object and motivation of his attack. She offers a stimulating reading not only of Descartes’s relationship to contemporary Scholasticism, but also of his scientific method and metaphysical commitments at various stages in his career.'

Source: Journal of the History of Philosophy

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Save to Kindle
  • Save to Dropbox
  • Save to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.
×

Contents

Works cited
PRIMARY SOURCES
Aristotle, , The Complete Works of Aristotle, Barnes, Jonathan, ed. 2 vols. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984).
Aristotle, , Mechanics, trans. Forster, E.S., in The Complete Works of Aristotle, ed. Barnes, Jonathan, 2 vols. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984), vol. 11, pp. 1299–1318
Aristotle, , Metaphysics, trans. Ross, W.D. in The Complete Works of Aristotle, ed. Barnes, , vol. 11, pp. 1552–1728.
Aristotle, , Physics, trans. Hardie, R.P. and Gaye, R.K., in The Complete Works of Aristotle, ed. Barnes, , vol. 1, pp. 315–446.
Aristotle, , Physics, Books I and II, trans. Charlton, William (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992).
Aristotle, , Posterior Analytics, trans. Barnes, Jonathan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994).
Barozzi, Francesco, Procli Diadochi Commentatorium ad universam mathematicam disciplinam (Padua, 1560).
Basso, Sebastian, Philosophiae Naturalis adversus Aristotelem (Geneva, 1621).
Blancanus, Josephus, De Mathematicarum Natura Dissertatio, Appendix to Aristotelis Loca Mathematica, trans. Klima, Gyula, in Philosophy of Mathematics and Mathematical Practice in the Seventeenth Century, ed. Mancosu, Paolo (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), pp.178–212.
Bruno, Giordano, Cause, Principle and Unity and Essays on Magic, trans. Blackwell, Richard J. and Lucca, Robert (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).
Descartes, René, Discours de la Méthode et Essais, in Oeuvres de Descartes, ed. Adam, and Tannery, , vol. VI.
Descartes, René, Le Monde, in Oeuvres de Descartes, ed. Adam, and Tannery, , vol. XI.
Descartes, René, Meditationes de Primâ Philosophia, in Oeuvres de Descartes, ed. Adam, and Tannery, vol. VII.
Descartes, René, Oeuvres de Descaptes, ed. Adam, Charles and Tannery, Paul, 12 vols. (Paris: Vrin, 1996).
Descartes, René, The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, trans. Cottingham, John, Stoothoff, Robert, Murdoch, Dugald, and (vol. III) Kenny, Anthony, 3 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985–1991).
Descartes, René, Principia Philosophiae, in Oeuvres de Descartes, ed. Adam, and Tannery, , vol. VIII.
Descartes, René, Principles of Philosophy, trans. Miller, V.R. and Miller, R.P.. (Dordrecht: D. Reidel Publishing Co., 1983).
Descartes, René, The World and Other Writings, ed. Gaukroger, Stephen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).
Galen, , The Art of Medicine, in Galen: Selected Works, ed. Singer, P.N. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997).
Gorlaeus, David, Exercitationes Philosophicae (Leiden: Iohannis Ganne & Harmanni à Westerhuysen, 1620).
Guevara, Ioannis, In Aristotelis Mechanicas Commentarij una cum Additionibus Quibusdam (Rome: Jacob Mascardus, 1627).
Gorlaeus, David, Hugh of St. Victor, The Didascalicon of Hugh of St. Victor: A Medieval Guide to the Arts, trans. Taylor, Jerome (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961).
Leonico Tomeo, Niccolò, Opuscula Nuper in Lucem Aedita (Venice: Bernardinus Vitalis Venetus, 1525).
Lereuchon, Jean, Examen du livre des recreations mathematiques et de ses problemes en geometrie, mecanique, optique, & catoptrique, Où sont aussi discutees & restablies plusieurs experiences physiques y proposees. Par Claude Mydorge (Rouen: Chez Charles Osmont, 1639).
Maurolyco, Francesco, Opuscula mathematica (Venice: Apud Franciscum Franciscium Senensem, 1575).
Maurolyco, Francesco, Problemata Mechanica cum appendice, & ad Magnetem, & ad Pixidem Nauticam pertinentia (Messina: Ex Typographia Petri Breae, 1613).
Mersenne, Marin, L'Impieté de Deistes, Athees et Libertins de ce Temps (Paris: Pierre Bilain, 1624).
Mersenne, Marin, Quaestiones Celeberrimae in Genesim cum accurata textus Explicatione (Paris: Sumptibus Sebastiani Cramoisy, 1623).
Mersenne, Marin, Questions theologiques, physiques, morales et mathematiques, Questions inouyes, Questions harmoniques, Questions théologiques, les Mécaniques de Galilée, Les Préludes de l'harmonie universelle, ed. Pessel, André (Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard, 1985).
Monantholio, Henrico, Aristotelis Mechanica Graeca, emendate, Latina facta, & Commentariis illustrate (Paris, 1599).
Piccolomini, Alessandro, In mechanicas quaestiones Aristotelis: Paraphrasis paulo quidem plenior (Venice, 1565).
Sanches, Francisco, That Nothing Is Known, ed. Limbrick, Elaine and Douglas, F.S. Thomson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).
Suarez, Francis, On the Formal Cause of Substance: Metaphysical Disputation XV, trans. Kronen, John and Reedy, Jeremiah (Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 2000).
Suarez, Francisco, Francisco Suarez on the Various Kinds of Distinctions, trans. Vollert, Cyril (Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 1947).
Telesio, Bernardino, La natura secondo i suoi principi (1570), trans. Bondi, Roberto (Florence: La Nuova Italia Editrice, 1999).
Aquinas, St Thomas, Commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics, trans. Rowan, John P. (Notre Dame, IN: Dumb Ox Books, 1961).
Aquinas, St Thomas, Commentary on Aristotle's Physics, trans. Blackwell, Richard J., Spath, Richard J., and Thirlkel, W. Edmund, 2 vols. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1963), vol. i, Books I–IV.
Aquinas, St Thomas, Commentary on the Posterior Analytics of Aristotle, trans. Larcher, F.R. (Albany, NT: Magi Books, Inc., 1970).
Aquinas, St Thomas, De principiis naturae, ed. Pauson, John J. (Fribourg: Société Philosophique, 1950).
Aquinas, St Thomas, On Being and Essence, trans. Maurer, Armand (Toronto, Ont.: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1968).
Aquinas, St Thomas, Summa Contra Gentiles, trans. Anderson, James F. 4 vols. (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1975).
Aquinas, St Thomas, The Summa Theologica of St Thomas Aquinas, trans. Fathers of the Dominican Province, 21 vols. (London: R. & T Washbourne, 1912).
Waard, C., Journal tenu par Isaac Beeckman de 1604 à 1634 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1939).
SECONDARY SOURCES
Ariew, Roger, Descartes and the Last Scholastics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000).
Baillet, Adrien, The Life of Monsieur Descartes, trans. , S.R. (London: R. Simpson, 1693).
Berkel, Klaas, “Descartes' Debt to Beeckman: Inspiration, Cooperation, Conflict,” in Descartes' Natural Philosophy, ed. Gaukroger, Stephen, Schuster, John, and Sutton, John (London and New York: Routledge, 2000), pp.46–59.
Berkel, Klaas, Isaac Beeckman en de mechaniseering van het wereldbeeld (Amsterdam: Rodolphi, 1983).
Brown, Gregory, “Mathematics, Physics, and Corporeal Substance in Descartes,” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 70 (1989), pp.281–302.
Clarke, Desmond, “Physics and Metaphysics in Descartes' Principles,” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 10/2 (1979), pp.89–112.
Clemenson, David, Descartes' Theory of Ideas (London: Continuum, 2007).
Cronin, T.J.Eternal Truths in the Thought of Descartes and of His Adversary,” Journal of the History of Ideas 21/4 (1960), pp.553–559.
Dear, Peter, Mersenne and the Learning of the Schools (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988).
Des Chene, Dennis, Physiologia: Natural Philosophy in Late Aristotelian and Cartesian Thought (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996).
Drake, Stillman, and Rose, Paul Lawrence, “The Pseudo-Aristotelian Questions of Mechanics in Renaissance Culture,” Studies in the Renaissance 18 (1971), pp.65–104.
Eaton, William R., Boyle on Fire: The Mechanical Revolution in Scientific Explanation (London: Continuum, 2005).
Gabbey, Alan, “Descartes' Physics and Descartes' Mechanics: Chicken and Egg?,” in Essays on the Philosophy and Science of Descartes, ed. Voss, Stephen (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), pp.311–323.
Gandt, François, “Les Mécaniques attribuées à Aristote et le renouveau de la science des machines au XVIe siècle,” Études Philosophiques (1986), pp.391–405.
Garber, Daniel, “Descartes, Mechanics, and the Mechanical Philosophy,” in Midwest Studies in Philosophy, vol. XXVI: Renaissance and Early Modern Philosophy, ed. French, Peter A. and Wettstein, Howard K. (Boston, MA: Blackwell Publishing Inc., 2002), pp.185–204.
Gaukroger, Stephen, “Descartes' Project for a Mathematical Physics,” in Descartes: Philosophy, Mathematics and Physics, ed. Gaukroger, Stephen (Brighton: Harvester Press, 1980), pp.97–140.
Gaukroger, Stephen, “The Foundational Role of Hydrostatics and Statics in Descartes' Natural Philosophy,” in Descartes' Natural Philosophy, ed. Gaukroger, Stephen, Schuster, John, and Sutton, John (London and New York: Routledge, 2000), pp.60–80.
Gillispie, Charles Coulton (ed.), Dictionary of Scientific Biography (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1976).
Gracia, Jorge J.E.Francisco Suárez: The Man in History,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 65/3 (1991), pp.259–286.
Hatfield, Gary, “First Philosophy and Natural Philosophy in Descartes,” in Philosophy: Its History and Historiography, in Holland, A.J., ed. (Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1985), pp.149–164.
Hattab, Helen, “Concurrence or Divergence? Reconciling Descartes' Physics with His Metaphysics,” Journal of the History of Philosophy 45/1 (2007), pp.49–78.
Hattab, Helen, “Conflicting Causalities: The Jesuits, Their Opponents and Descartes on the Causality of the Efficient Cause,” in Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, vol. I, ed. Garber, Daniel and Nadler, Steven (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), pp.1–22.
Hattab, Helen, “The Problem of Secondary Causation in Descartes: A Response to Des Chene,” Perspectives on Science 8/2 (2000), pp.93–118.
Hoffman, Paul, “Cartesian Composites,” Journal of the History of Philosophy 37 (1999), pp.251–270.
Hoffman, Paul, “The Unity of Descartes' Man,” Philosophical Review 95 (1986), pp.339–370.
Jaeger, F.M., “Over David van Goorle als Atomist en Over het Geslacht van Goorle in Noord-Nederland,” Oud Holland (1918), pp.13–38.
Jardine, Nicholas, “Epistemology of the Sciences,” in The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy, ed. Schmitt, Charles B. and Skinner, Quentin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), pp.685–711.
Kronen, John D., “The Importance of the Concept of Substantial Unity in Suárez's Argument for Hylomorphism,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 65/3 (1991), pp.335–360.
Kubbinga, Henk, “Le Concept d'individu substantiel' chez Beeckman et Descartes,” in Descartes et Regius autour de l'explication de l'esprit humain, ed. Verbeek, Theo (Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi, 1993), pp.93–103.
Laird, W.R., “Archimedes Among the Humanists,” Isis 82 (1991), pp.629–638.
Laird, W.R., “The Scope of Renaissance Mechanics,” Osiris, 2nd series, 2 (1986), pp.43–68.
Leijenhorst, Cees, The Mechanisation of Aristotelianism: The Late Aristotelian Setting of Thomas Hobbes' Natural Philosophy (Leiden: Brill, 2002).
Leijenhorst, Cees, Lüthy, Christoph, “The Erosion of Arisotelianism: Confessional Physics in Early Modern Germany and the Dutch Republic,” in The Dynamics of Aristotelian Natural Philosophy, ed. Leijenhorst, Cees, Lüthy, Christoph, and Thijssen, M.M.H. (Leiden: Brill, 2002), pp.375–411.
Liddell, Henry George, and Scott, Robert, A Greek–English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968).
Lüthy, Christoph, “David Gorlaeus' Atomism, or: The Marriage of Protestant Metaphysics with Italian Natural Philosophy,” in Late Medieval and Early Modern Corpuscular Matter Theories, ed. Lüthy, Christoph, Murdoch, John E., and Newman, William R. (Leiden: Brill, 2001), pp.245–290.
McLaughlin, Peter, “The Question of the Authenticity of the Mechanical Problems,” Introduction to Panel on “The Problematical History of Aristotle's ‘Mechanical Problems,’” History of Science Society Annual Meeting, November 2, 2007, Arlington, VA.
Menn, Stephen, “Suarez, Nominalism, and Modes,” in Hispanic Philosophy in the Age of Discovery, ed. White, Kevin, Studies in Philosophy and the History of Philosophy (Washington DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1997), pp.227–239.
Nolan, Lawrence, “The Ontological Status of Cartesian Natures,” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 78 (1977), pp.169–194.
Pace, Anna, Le Mathematiche e il Mondo (Milan: FrancoAngeli, 1992).
Pasnau, Robert, “Form, Substance and Mechanism,” Philosophical Review 113/1 (2004), pp.31–88.
Rochemonteix, Camille, Un collège de jésuites aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles: le Collège de Henri IV de la Flèche, 3 vols. (Le Mans: Leguicheux, 1889), vol. I.
Rodis-Lewis, Geneviève, Descartes: His Life and Thought, trans. Todd, Jane Marie (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998).
Rose, Paul Lawrence, and Drake, Stillman, “The Pseudo-Aristotelian Questions of Mechanics in Renaissance Culture,” Studies in the Renaissance 18 (1971), pp.65–104.
Rozemond, Marleen, Descartes' Dualism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998).
Rozemond, Marleen, ”Descartes's Ontology of the Eternal Truths,” in Early Modern Metaphysics: Essays in Honor of Vere Chappell, ed. Hoffman, Paul, Owen, David, and Yaffe, Gideon (Peterborough: Broadview Press, forthcoming).
Ruestow, Edward G., Physics at Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Leiden: Philosophy and the New Science in the University (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1973).
Ruler, J.A., The Crisis of Causality: Voetius and Descartes on God, Nature and Change (Leiden: Brill, 1995).
Schmitt, Charles B., “Renaissance Aristotelianisms,” in Schmitt, Charles B., Aristotle and the Renaissance (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983).
Schouten, J., Johannes Walaeus (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1972).
Schuhmann, Karl, “Telesio's Concept of Matter,” Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Studi su Bernardino Telesio, 13 March 1989 (Cosenza: Academia Cosentina, 1989), pp.115–134.
Schuster, John A., “Descartes and the Scientific Revolution 1618–1634: an interpretation,” 2 vols. (unpublished PhD thesis, Princeton University, 1977).
Schuster, John A., ”'Waterworld': Descartes' Vortical Celestial Mechanics,” in The Science of Nature in the Seventeenth Century: Patterns of Natural Change in Early Modern Natural Philosophy, ed. Anstey, Peter R. and Schuster, John A., Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 19 (Dordrecht: Springer, 2005), pp.35–66.
Shea, William, The Magic of Numbers and Motion: The Scientific Career of René Descartes (Canton, MA: Watson Publishing International, 1991).
Stone Haring, Ellen, “Substantial Form in Metaphysics Z, I,” Review of Metaphysics 10/2/38 (1956), pp.308–332.
Verbeek, Theo, Descartes and the Dutch Early Reactions to Cartesian Philosophy, 1637–1650 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992).
Verbeek, Theo, La Querelle d'Utrecht: René Descartes et Martin Schoock (Paris: Impressions Nouvelles, 1988).
Verbeek, Theo, Bos, Erik-Jan, and Lem, Anton, Descartes en Leiden (Leiden: Universiteits Bibliotheek Leiden, 2003).
Verbeek, Theo, in collaboration with Kigma, Jelle and Noble, Philippe, De Nederlanders en Descartes (Amsterdam: Maison Descartes, 1996:) In French: Les Néerlandais et Descartes (Paris: Institut Néerlandais, 1996).
Walski, Gregory M., “The Opponent and Motivation behind Descartes's Eternal Truths Doctrine,” in Il Seicento e Descartes, ed. Prete, Antonella Del (Florence: Edumond Le Monnier, 2004), pp.43–60.
Wells, Norman J., “Descartes on Distinction,” in The Quest for the Absolute, Boston College Studies in Philosophy 1, ed. Adelmann, Frederick J. SJ (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1966), pp.105–106.
Wells, Norman J., “Descartes and the Scholastics Briefly Revisited,” New Scholasticism 35 (1961), pp.177–190.
Williams, Bernard, Descartes: The Project of Pure Enquiry (London: Routledge, 2005).
Wreede, Liesbeth, “Willebrord Snellius (1580–1626): A Humanist Reshaping the Mathematical Sciences” (unpublished PhD thesis, University of Leiden, 2007).

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.