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Optics in Hobbes’s Natural Philosophy

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The aim of this paper is to give an overview of the place that Hobbes assigns to optics in the context of his classification of sciences and disciplinary boundaries. To do this, I will begin with an account of Hobbes’s conception of philosophy or science, and particularly his distinction between true and hypothetical knowledge. I will also show that in his demarcation between mathematics or geometry and natural philosophy Hobbes was influenced by Galileo’s Dialogue. I then analyse the consequences of this distinction for optics, and conclude by clarifying its status among the scientific disciplines.

Affiliations: 1: Professor of the History of Science, University of Bergamo, P.le S. Agostino, 2, 24129 Bergamo Italy, franco.giudice@unibg.it

10.1163/18750257-02901005
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/content/journals/10.1163/18750257-02901005
2016-04-25
2018-06-21

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