Learning from six philosophers : Descartes, Spinoza, by Jonathan Bennett

By Jonathan Bennett

Jonathan Bennett engages with the concept of six nice thinkers of the early glossy interval: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. whereas now not neglecting the old atmosphere of every, his leader concentration is at the phrases they wrote. What challenge is being tackled? How precisely is the answer intended to paintings? Does it prevail? If no longer, why now not? What will be realized from its good fortune or failure? For newbies to the early sleek scene, this essentially written paintings is a wonderful creation to it. these already within the comprehend can the right way to argue with the nice philosophers of the earlier, treating them as colleagues, antagonists, scholars, lecturers. during this moment quantity, Bennett makes a speciality of the paintings of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume.

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Particular places are not distinguished in contemporary theoretical physics, or in the physics of Descartes. According to him, some parts of the heavens are unlike others, and he seeks to explain some astronomical facts by postulating great masses of fluid matter whirling around the sun. But this is mere large-scale geography, so to speak; none of Descartes's basic laws pick out any particular places, and none is said to hold sway only in certain places. (4) Aristotle's explanations are qualitative rather than quantitative: his physics does not lend itself to development through mathematics.

His reason comes from this: ‘The extension of the wax . . increases if the wax melts, increases again if it boils, . . etc. The wax . . is capable of being extended in many more different ways than I will ever encompass in my imagination’ (CSM 2:21). Before this he says the same thing about flexibility. He is rejecting concept-empiricism—the view that everything in the understanding was first in the senses. , cannot be intellectual possessions derived from our senses, he holds. , far outruns anything that the senses could give us, because it includes the possibility of an infinity of shapes and sizes.

What is the end that is sought in nature? It is the development from a state of potentiality to one of actuality, the embodiment of form in matter. With Aristotle . . the teleological view of nature prevails over the mechanical. . The teleology is not, however, all-pervasive and allconquering, since matter sometimes obstructs the action of teleology (as, for instance, in the production of monsters, which must be ascribed to defective matter). Thus the working of teleology in any particular instance may suffer the occurrence of an event which does not serve the end in question.

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