Pierre gassendi

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008)
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Abstract

Pierre Gassendi (b. 1592, d. 1655) was a French philosopher, scientific chronicler, observer, and experimentalist, scholar of ancient texts and debates, and active participant in contemporary deliberations of the first half of the seventeenth century. His significance in early modern thought has in recent years been rediscovered and explored, towards a better understanding of the dawn of modern empiricism, the mechanical philosophy, and relations of modern philosophy to ancient and medieval discussions. Through an arch-empiricism—tempered by adherence to key elements of Church doctrine—Gassendi views metaphysics as a realm for speculation grounded in the possibility of empirical confirmation, logic as a psychologistic and probabilistic enterprise, knowledge of the external world as built on and subject to sensory-based evidence, and ethics in quasi-hedonist, possibly quantifiable terms. His philosophy is a constant review of other sources, a thorough consideration of the landscape into which his own empiricism fits and represents an alternative to contrasting claims, past and present. Other hallmarks of his thought include an atomist matter theory, explorations and defenses of the new physics, objections to the Meditations, and refutations of contemporary Aristotelians and mystical thinkers. His presentation of an empiricism, atomism, and new cosmology in historical and philosophical context greatly advanced the community of scholarship in his day, and represents a then-new model of research and exposition.

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Saul Fisher
Mercy University

References found in this work

The history of scepticism: from Savonarola to Bayle.Richard H. Popkin - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Richard H. Popkin.
Epicureanism at the origins of modernity.Catherine Wilson - 2008 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Regius and Gassendi on the Human Soul.Vlad Alexandrescu - 2013 - Intellectual History Review 23 (2):433-452.

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