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  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: March 2008

18 - New doctrines of body and its powers, place, and space

from IV - Body and the physical world
In the late years of the sixteenth century and the first years of the seventeenth there was a new interest in atomism and mechanist views of the world. These years witnessed new natural philosophies, new conceptions of body and the contents of the physical world. The new philosophers disagreed what the physical world was to contain, what the nature of body was, whether bodies were active or passive, the nature of the place or space in which they are found. This chapter first examines the views of the new philosophers by first viewing the physical world in the early part of the century. Next, it looks at the physical world held by three of the important mechanist system-builders in mid-century, Pierre Gassendi, Rene Descartes, and Thomas Hobbes. Finally, the chapter discusses the views on body and the physical world, including reactions to earlier mechanist conceptions of body, and attempts to escape the bounds of the new mechanist orthodoxy.
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The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Philosophy
  • Online ISBN: 9781139055451
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