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Displaying: 81-100 of 212 documents


articles
81. 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.
82. 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.
83. 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
84. 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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85. 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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86. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Guidelines for Authors
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articles
87. 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.
88. 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.
89. 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.
90. 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.
91. 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.
92. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Edward Slowik Reconsidering Kantian Absolute Space in the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science from a Huygensian Frame
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This essay explores Kant’s concept of absolute space in the Metaphysical Foundations from the perspective of the development of the relationist interpretation of bodily interactions in the center-of-mass reference frame, a strategy that Huygens had originally pioneered and which Mach also endorsed. In contrast to the interpretations of Kant that stress a non-relationist, Newton-inspired orientation in his critical period work, it will be argued that the content and function of Kant’s utilization of this reference frame strategy places him much closer to Huygens’ relationism than the absolute notions of space and motion favored by Newton and Euler.
book reviews
93. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Barnaby R. Hutchins Cartesian Psychophysics and the Whole Nature of Man: On Descartes’s Passions of the Soul
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94. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Irina Georgescu Puritanism and Emotion in the Early Modern World
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95. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Alexandra Bacalu Distraction: Problems of Attention in Eighteenth-Century Literature
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96. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Books Received
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97. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 2
Guidelines for Authors
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articles
98. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Fabrizio Baldassarri Introduction: Gardens as Laboratories. A History of Botanical Sciences
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99. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Florike Egmond Experimenting with Living Nature: Documented Practices of Sixteenth-Century Naturalists and Naturalia Collectors
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This article discusses experimentation in the context of sixteenth-century natural history, or natural science as I prefer to call it here. It uses predominantly textual sources, many of them manuscript letters, from different European countries, mainly Italy, the Low Countries, France and Germany-Austria. The focus is on the practice of experimentation and its documentation, partly because I proceed from the assumption that the investigation of living nature did not necessarily entail the same type of experimentation as contempo­rary alchemy, pharmacy, or medicine, although all these domains of knowledge and their practitioners overlapped. The subject matter to some extent imposed its own rules. The first part of this essay analyses experimentation in the garden, which often combined practical purposes with research ones. The second and third parts discuss experimentation with both plants and animals that originated in more general questions or led to more wide-ranging conclusions about natural phenomena. The final section discusses the links with natural philosophy in these different types of experimentation in natural science, and addresses the possible implications for the concept of experimentation itself in the period shortly before the ”new science” of the seventeenth century.
100. Journal of Early Modern Studies: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
María M. Carrión Planted Knowledge: Art, Science, and Preservation in the Sixteenth-Century Herbarium from the Hurtado de Mendoza Collection in El Escorial
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The interactive correspondence of art, science, and preservation supports the composition of a four-volume anonymous herbarium originally belonging first to the Venetian library of Ambassador Hurtado de Mendoza, and later endowed to the Royal Library of the Monastery-Palace of El Escorial. This planted knowledge consist­ed of artistic and scientific practices (composition, writing, calligraphy, naming, drying, pressing, cataloguing, relating to health properties, and so on) to preserve not only the plants dried and glued to recycled paper, but the association of those plants, with names, stories, and contexts in ways that attest to the development of natural history and philosophy in sixteenth-century Italy and Spain. This article describes and analyzes the composition of the Hurtado herbarium, its provenance, and its place in the context of early modern European naturalism and botany. Finally, it considers problems of reading this collection, and possible solutions to better understand the herbarium in El Escorial as another piece of this network of dissemination of ethnobotanical knowledge in early modern Europe.