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Displaying: 101-120 of 241 documents


book reviews
101. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Irina Georgescu The Renaissance of Emotion: Understanding Affect in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries
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102. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Diego Lucci L’ateismo dei moderni. Filosofia e negazione di Dio da Spinoza a d’Holbach
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103. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Eduard Ghiţă The Emergence of Modern Aesthetic Theory: Religion and Morality in Enlightenment Germany and Scotland
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104. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Books Received
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105. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Guidelines for Authors
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articles
106. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Dana Jalobeanu, Grigore Vida Introduction: The Mathematization of Natural Philosophy between Practical Knowledge and Disciplinary Blending
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107. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Laura Georgescu Rotating Poles, Shifting Angles and the Use of Geometry: (Bond’s Longitude Found and Hobbes’ Confutation)
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In The Sea–Mans Kalendar (1636 [1638?]), Henry Bond predicted that magnetic declination would be 0° in 1657, and would then increase westerly for (at least) 30 years. Based on these predictions, Bond went on to claim in The Longitude Found (1676) that, by using his model of magnetism, he can offer a technique for determining longitude. This paper offers an assessment of Bond’s method for longitude determination and critically evaluates Thomas Hobbes’s so–far neglected response to Bond’s proposal in Decameron physiologicum (1678), in which Hobbes complains about what he takes to be Bond’s implicit natural philosophy and about his use of spherical trigonometry.
108. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Adam D. Richter “Nature Doth Not Work by Election”: John Wallis, Robert Grosseteste, and the Mathematical Laws of Nature
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Though he is known primarily for his mathematics, John Wallis (1616–1703) was also a prominent natural philosopher and experimentalist. Like many experimental philosophers, including his colleagues in the Royal So­ciety, Wallis sought to identify the mathematical laws that govern natural phenomena. However, I argue that Wallis’s particular understanding of the laws of nature was informed by his reading of a thirteenth–century optical treatise by Robert Grosseteste, De lineis, angulis et figuris, which expresses the principle that “Nature doth not work by Election.” Wallis’s use of this principle in his Discourse of Gravity and Gravitation (1675) helps to clarify his understanding of natural laws. According to Wallis, since nature cannot choose to act one way or another, natural phenomena are unfailingly regular, and it is this that allows them to be predicted, generalized, and described by mathematical rules. Furthermore, I argue that Wallis’s reading of Grosseteste reveals one way that medieval scholarship contributed to the “mathematization of nature” in the early modern period: historically–minded scholars like Wallis found insightful philosophical principles in medieval sources, and they transformed and redeployed these principles to suit the needs of early modern natural philosophy.
109. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Fabrizio Bigotti The Weight of the Air: Santorio’s Thermometers and the Early History of Medical Quantification Reconsidered
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The early history of thermometry is most commonly described as the result of a continuous development rather than the product of a single brilliant mind, and yet scholars have often credited the Italian physician Santorio Santori (1561–1636) with the invention of the first thermometers. The purpose of using such instruments within the traditional context of Galenic medicine, however, has not been investigated and scholars have consistently assumed that, being subject to the influence of atmospheric pressure and en­vironmental heat, Santorio’s instruments provided unreliable measurements. The discovery that, as early as 1612, Santorio describes all vacuum-related phenomena as effects of the atmospheric pressure of the air, provides ample room for reconsidering his role in the development of precision instruments and the early history of thermometry in particular. By drawing on a variety of written and visual sources, some unpublished, in the first part of this article I argue that Santorio’s appreciation of phenomena related to the weight of the air allowed him to construct the first thermometers working as sealed devices. Finally, in the second part, I consider Santorio’s use of the thermometer as related to the seventeenth-century medical practice and his way to measure the temperature as based on a wide sample of individuals.
110. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Grigore Vida Descartes’ Theory of Abstraction in the Regulæ
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I analyze in this article the different ways in which Descartes uses abstraction in the Regulæ, discussing his project of a mathematical physics, the role of the imagination, and the status of numbers. I also try to show that the doctrine of simple natures cannot be well accommodated with the theory of abstraction developed in Rule 14, having instead a greater affinity with Descartes’ later theory of abstraction and exclusion (from the period after the Meditationes), in which imagination plays no role and everything happens at a strictly intellectual level. This interpretation is supported by the recent discovery of the Cambridge manuscript, which almost certainly records an early stage of composition and in which the doctrine of simple natures is absent, thus being very probably a later development.
111. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Ovidiu Babeș Descartes and Roberval: The Composite Pendulum and its Center of Agitation
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This paper deals with Descartes’s and Roberval’s attempts to devise and describe the center of agitation of a composite pendulum. This episode has received some attention in the recent literature. It is usually depicted as the first step in the development of a general procedure for establishing the center of oscillation of a pendulum. My aim is to explore the different physical concepts and assumptions which informed the two mathematical accounts of the composite pendulum. I will argue that force, agitation, heaviness, or resis­tance of air essentially meant different things for Descartes and Roberval. As a result, the physical phenomena covered by the two geometrical procedures were quite distinct, and both mathematicians envisaged different roles of these phenomena within their agenda of studying nature.
112. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Aaron Spink Claude Gadroys and a Cartesian Astrology
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When Descartes made his scientific work public, he ushered in a worldview based almost entirely on mechanical motion, which brought along a complete rejection of “occult” forces. Thus, the foundation of astrology was equally rejected by many prominent Cartesians. However, the popularity of Descartes’ system lead to its rapid adoption by many subjects, astrology included. Here, I will take a look at the curious case of Claude Gadroys, whose primary work, Discours sur les influences des astres (1671), defends a mechanical account of astrology that accords with Descartes’ principles. Gadroys’ Discours employs a sophisticated strategy to rehabilitate astrology of the 17th century against Pico della Mirandola, among other critics. Gadroys’ theory even incorporates Descartes’ discovery, contra the scholastics, that the sublunary and celestial spheres do not differ in kind. Surprisingly, Gadroys uses Descartes’ discovery to substantiate the stars influencing the Earth, whereas earlier astrologers required such a distinction. Gadroys’ adoption of Cartesian philosophy highlights two major theses. First, the advent of mechanical philosophy in no way necessitated the downfall of astrology; instead, it merely changed the direction of astrological explanation for those that followed current science. Second, it shows the selective nature of Cartesian explanation and hypotheses.
review article
113. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Roger Ariew Comments on John Schuster and Frederic de Buzon concerning Physico–Mathematics and Mathesis in Descartes
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114. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Dana Jalobeanu When Mathematics overtakes Philosophy: The Silent Revolution and the Invention of Science
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115. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Guidelines for Authors
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articles
116. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Adamas Fiucci The Role of Solitude in Pierre Charron
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This article aims to examine Pierre Charron’s conception of solitude, a task which is complicated by the fact that this conception underwent several changes between the two editions of De la sagesse. Unlike the 1601 edition, the 1604 edition includes passages on the importance of the social dimension of the good life, which may look like an exhortation to actively participate in social life in order to acquire civil prudence. In order to clarify the Charronian position on this issue, I undertake a comparative analysis of the two editions of De la Sagesse, as well as an enquiry into the letters sent to a Doctor of the Sorbonne and to Gabriel Michel de La Rochemaillet, in which Charron deepens his reflections on solitude. I will show that Charron describes solitude not only as a physical separation from a civil context, but also as an emotional autonomy which can be reached everywhere. Charron’s perspective on solitude is also the result of his reading of previous philosophers, such as Seneca, Aristotle and Michel de Montaigne, as well as an analysis of Renaissance discussions of the active and contemplative lives.
117. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Stefan Heßbrüggen-Walter The Young and Clueless?: Wheare, Vossius, and Keckermann on the Study of History
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In their debate on whether or not the young should be allowed to study history, Degory Wheare and Gerhardus Vossius quote Bartholomäus Keckermann and state that he wants to exclude the young from studying history, Wheare arguing for Keckermann’s purported position, Vossius opposing it. Their disagreement is part of a larger controversy on the relevance of history for moral instruction in general, contemplating the question whether or not history is best understood as ‘philosophy teaching by example.’ But the interpretation of Keckermann’s position presupposed by both Wheare and Vossius is wrong. Keckermann’s Ramist predecessors argued against a central presupposition of Wheare’s views, i.e., the exclusion of the young from studying moral philosophy. Keckermann’s own position in this regard is not fully clear. But a closer analysis of his distinction between methods for writing and for reading history shows that Keckermann did want the young to study history. If Keckermann had believed that such exclusion were necessary, it could only have been related to reading historical texts, not to writing them: writing texts about historical figures or events does not require moral precepts, but only the application of certain logical tools. A view that implies that writing a historical text should be possible for students, whereas reading such a text would go beyond their capabilities, is absurd. Hence, we can assume that Keckermann expected the young to study both history and moral philosophy.
118. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Stefano Di Bella Thinking, Time and the Essence of Mind in the Descartes-Arnauld Correspondence
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The 1648 exchange between Descartes and Arnauld focuses on several distinct but intertwined topics concerning Descartes’s philosophy of mind. Descartes’s acknowledgment of thinking as the essence of the mind implied a strong ‘actualist’ view of this essential activity. Arnauld’s objcetions reveal the problematic implications of this ontology of mind, from the role of memory and the temporal nature of our thought to the radical challenge of giving the status of an essence to such a temporal activity.
119. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Guido Giglioni Orlando, Perseus, Samson and Elijah: Degrees of Imagination and Historical Reality in Spinoza’s Tractatus Theologico-Politicus
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Historia, as both a type of critical inquiry and a source of information about nature and the human world, is a key category in Spinoza’s Tractatus theologico-politicus (1670). In this work, the Latin word cannot be simply and invariably translated as “history,” not even if we add the proviso that its meaning wavers inevitably between “history” and “story,” for its semantic range is too broad and complex. At the two ends of the semantic spectrum we have the impartial report, on the one hand, and the creations of sheer fantasy (phantasmata and nugae), on the other. Historia may therefore denote the detached observation of nature and the philological analysis of a text, but it can also refer to the free exercise of the imagination in a variety of narrative contexts. While Spinoza denies that the inquiry resulting from historia and its products may have true cognitive value, he acknowledges that historia plays a fundamental role in society and politics. The reason is that historia and the imagination are bound up together by a special relationship. This is apparent at all levels of the historical engagement with reality (description, criticism and fiction), but is particularly true in the case of religion, moral norms and belief systems, for in this variegated domain the link between imagination and historia functions as the connective tissue that keeps societies united and functioning. This specific nexus of imagination and historia is Spinoza’s original contribution to the early modern notion of “moral certainty.” More importantly, it is only at this level that Spinoza grants a modicum of intelligibility (perceptibilitas) to the ‘historical’ productions of the imagination, be they signa, revelationes, or even nugae. The fact remains, though, that to a certain extent humans keep having a distorted grasp of reality, indeed hallucinate, even when their ‘historical’ accounts of reality are socially and politically productive. Here the key element is the notion of fictional continuity based on a socially constructed trust (fides historiarum) in narrative accounts of reality: the imagination turns reality into stories, but in so doing it keeps the otherwise constitutively hallucinatory nature of humans at bay and under control. Perceptibilitas, that is, the ability to provide acceptable cognitive solutions between intelligible knowledge and moral certainty, is ultimately what defines the contribution of the imagination to the human work of knowledge.
120. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Eduard Ghiţă Theological Underpinnings of Joseph Addison’s Aesthetics
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Joseph Addison’s Spectator papers on the imagination have been read as a landmark in the development of aesthetic disinterestedness (Stolnitz). But this is problematic in light of Addison’s theological concerns, particularly as they bear on the final causes of aesthetic pleasures. This teleology of the aesthetic is far from a Kantian understanding, but rather part of a larger discourse of physico-theology. By drawing on the work of Zeitz and Mayhew, among others, this paper shows how Addison’s theological underpinnings of the aesthetic raise the broader question of the role theology played in the emergence and evolution of philosophical aesthetics. In eighteenth-century Britain, the aesthetic belonged to a disciplinary matrix comprising a set of confluent discourses, one of which was theology. Drawing on and expanding M.H. Abrams’s scheme, which explores how concepts such as ‘contemplation’ and ‘disinterestedness’ migrated from theology to aesthetic theory, this paper suggests that the concept of ‘aesthetic pleasure’ underwent a similar transformation. With Addison, the pleasures afforded by the imagination (greatness, novelty and beauty) acquire a new dominant position which allows one to speak of a text in modern aesthetics instead of a manual of Christian apologetics.