Early Science and Medicine 12 (1):28-54 (2007)

Geoffrey Gorham
Macalester College
Descartes' account of the material world relies heavily on time. Most importantly, time is a component of speed, which figures in his fundamental conservation principle and laws. However, in his most systematic discussion of the concept, time is treated as some-how reducible both to thought and to motion. Such reductionistic views, while common among Descartes' late scholastic contemporaries, are very ill-suited to Cartesian physics. I show that, in spite of the apparent identifications with thought and motion, Cartesian time retains—in the form of what I will call 'successive duration'—precisely the intrinsic structure necessary to serve as an independent parameter of quantitative physics. As is often the case with Descartes, he gives the impression of embracing traditional doctrines while in fact radically transforming the underlying concepts to serve his scientific agenda. His theory of time, though formulated in Aristotelian terms, anticipates Newton in important respects
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DOI 10.1163/157338207x166380
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References found in this work BETA

The Scholastic Background.Roger Ariew & Alan Gabbey - 1998 - In Daniel Garber & Michael Ayers (eds.), The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 1--425.
Descartes: The Matter of Time.Clarence A. Bonnen & Daniel E. Flage - 2000 - International Studies in Philosophy 32 (4):1-11.
Seventeenth-Century Scholastic Treatments of Time.Stephen H. Daniel - 1981 - Journal of the History of Ideas 42 (4):587-606.

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Citations of this work BETA

Descartes on the Infinity of Space Vs. Time.Geoffrey Gorham - 2018 - In Ohad Nachtomy & Reed Winegar (eds.), Infinity in Early Modern Philosophy. Berlin: Brill. pp. 45-61.
Both Classical & Quantum Information; Both Bit & Qubit: Both Physical & Transcendental Time.Vasil Penchev - 2021 - Philosophy of Science eJournal (Elsevier: SSRN) 14 (22):1-24.
Cartesian Temporal Atomism: A New Defence, a New Refutation.Geoffrey Gorham - 2008 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 16 (3):625 – 637.

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