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William Crathorn’s Mereotopological Atomism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows how William Crathorn brought out an important turn in his natural philosophy, from the indivisible considered as a mathematical point to the atom conceived as a physical entity. It examines the mereological principles on which the atomist edifice is built. The gnoseological excuse for discussing the divisibility of continuous quantities helps Crathorn to reveal a first apparent paradox in Aristotles analysis. Crathorn infers his critique of Aristotles view about the infinite divisibility of a continuum, as well as Henry of Harclays atomist version of it. Crathorn is indebted to Harclays analysis of contact between indivisibles when he tries to define contiguity and continuity of atoms. As a consequence of the continuums mereotopological structure, motion will be defined as a local motion of atoms.

Keywords: Aristotle; contiguity; indivisibles; mereotopological atomism; William Crathorn



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