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title SUMMARY /title This study considers the reasons for the radical incompatibility between atomist theses and the conclusions reached by the Council of Trent on the sacrament of the Eucharist. The texts of several seventeenth century Jesuits - Suarez, Pereira, Arriaga and Oviedo - are examined here. Present in these texts is an attempt to develop a natural philosophy alternative to the Aristotelian one, capable of retaining its distance from impious atomism, but, nonetheless, adopting certain central aspects concerning belief in discontinuity and indivisibles. A strong line of demarcation between Aristotelians and anti-Aristotelians can be traced through their differing conceptions of the continuum. Zenonism (which regards the continuum as composed of points) was defended on various occasions in the Jesuit context, and was also repressed and condemned a number of times. In the background to these problems, the atomism of Galileo is reconsidered, and the "atomism of points" described theoretically by Boscovich is examined. Even during the seventeenth century, however, mention was frequently made of a particular type of atomists who regarded atoms as without extension. Many Vico scholars regarded his profession of Zenonims (central to his De antiquissima of 1710) as a "philosophical invention of Vico". In reality, however, Vico had a Zenonist Jesuit as his teacher, and his entire discussion of "metaphysical points" is linked to a specific and very little known philosophical tradition. In the whole of Europe between the middle of the seventeenth century and the first decades of the eighteenth century, Zenonist was a term in common use, and was readly comprehensible, like Scotist, or, in more recent times, Popperian.

Affiliations: 1: Universit di Firenze


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