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    Schmaltz, Tad M. 2018. French Cartesian Scholasticism: Remarks on Descartes and the First Cartesians. Perspectives on Science, Vol. 26, Issue. 5, p. 579.

    Antognazza, Maria Rosa 2017. Tercentenary Essays on the Philosophy and Science of Leibniz. p. 19.

    Serjeantson, Richard 2014. Francis Bacon and the “Interpretation of Nature” in the Late Renaissance. Isis, Vol. 105, Issue. 4, p. 681.

  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: March 2008

17 - Natural Philosophy

from Part III - Dividing the Study of Nature
Natural philosophy is used by historians of science as an umbrella term to designate the study of nature before it could easily be identified with what we call "science" today. As institutionalized in the universities of medieval Christendom, starting in the thirteenth century, natural philosophy consisted in the study of and commentary on Aristotle's libri naturals. Aristotelian natural philosophy faced a number of challenges in the Renaissance that stemmed from a new awareness of alternative ancient philosophies, the resurgence of religious objections, and recent empirical observations and discoveries. The Jesuits were particularly noted among Aristotelian natural philosophers for their openness to new empirical and mathematical methods. Gassendi proposed a full-scale revival of Epicureanism, an ancient philosophy long reviled as irreligious because of its explanations based on the chance encounters of atoms. The Royal Society and the Académie Royale conferred on natural philosophy a new institutional and intellectual autonomy.
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