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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
Summary
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
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521307635
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Boyle RobertA Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Receiv'd Notion of Nature (London, 1685/6)
François Traité de la quantité considerée absolument et en elle mesme (1655)
Leibniz remarks in the ‘Speciment Dynamicum’ of 1695, Leibniz 1982b
Locke The Elements appeared in A Collection of Several Pieces of Mr. John Locke (London, 1720).
More 1662a, ‘An Appendix to the Defence of The Philosophick Cabbala’
Newton Hypothesis explaining the Properties of Light’ (1675) 1978.
Spinoza makes reference to the ‘facies totius universae’ in a letter to Schuller , 29 July 1675, Geb. IV 278 (Spinoza 1928).