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Descartes, Basso, And Toletus: Three Kinds Of Corpuscularians

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Chapter Summary

There is a general consensus that one of the more important changes in seventeenth century philosophy is the movement from what is variously called scholasticism, naturalism, or animism to what is variously called the mechanical philosophy, corpuscularianism, or atomism. Descartes explains the relations between his philosophy and those of Aristotle and Democritus in a symmetrical fashion. This chapter looks at the contrasts Descartes draws between his philosophy and that of the early atomist, Sebastian Basso, "one of themost influential authors among the early corpuscularians," and the one he might have drawn with those of contemporary scholastics such as Franciscus Toletus. Descartes would not be swayed at all by the kinds of considerations that were important to Basso: the re-establishment of the philosophy of the Ancients who were eclipsed by Aristotle, the consequent defense of atomism, and thus the need to reject decisively substantial forms and real generation.

Keywords: animism; Aristotle; Basso; corpuscularianism; Descartes; naturalism; scholasticism; Toletus

10.1163/ej.9789004207240.i-358.44
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