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Varenius—Ein Geograph Zwischen Allen Stühlen? By Frank Richter †

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is in German with a brief English abstract which deals with the following questions: (1) can we establish Bernhard Varenius' position in relation to philosophical models of his time; (2) did he follow Aristotle or Descartes; and (3) could he be appropriated to Newtonianism in the eighteenth century. Why Isaac Newton chose Varenius' rather than someone else's book is not known. He may not have been familiar with Keckermann, a possible candidate. Perhaps Newton liked Varenius' attempt to find a synthesis between general and special geography and make geography practicable. Warntz considers Varenius' work in natural philosophy Cartesian and says that his Geographia Generalis departs from the Aristotelian-scholastic approach in geography. Newton, however, rejected a number of Descartes' (and Cartesianists') fundamental hypotheses and therefore modified Varenius in certain aspects, conformable with the Cambridge Platonists and Henry More.

Keywords:Aristotle; Bernhard Varenius; Descartes; Geographia Generalis; Isaac Newton; philosophical models



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