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Beyond Aristotle: Indivisibles And Infinite Divisibility In The Later Middle Ages

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Chapter Summary

The basic text for late Medieval Latin atomism and its critics was Aristotles Physics, especially Book VI. The question of the motives for the late medieval atomism is pretty murky. The motives for Greek atomism are an answer to Parmenidess monism and center in attempts to explain natural phenomena. The Aristotelian critics of medieval atomism correctly recognized that the indivisibles of Democritus have magnitude and have parts. Bradwardine and Buridan were quite right in charging indivisibilists with, obscuring limit decisions. More strikingly new were elements entirely foreign to the Aristotelian seedbed including geometrical arguments against indivisibilism, the very question of the existence of such indivisibles, and the consideration of the possibility of unequal infinites.

Keywords: Aristotle; Bradwardine; Indivisibilism; late medieval atomism



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