Enlightenment Roots - Pierre Gassendi

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Pierre Gassendi (1592 to 1655) was an early Enlightenment scholar, if lesser known today than such giants as Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Newton, Locke and Spinoza.  He was, nonetheless, an influential figure who connects the philosophers of ancient Greece with the scientists of today and thus illuminates the transitioning of the medieval world into the modern. Inductive Reasoning, Encyclopedia Of Philosophy, S Xvi, Sense Of Sight, Electromagnetic Spectrum, Philosophy Of Science, Northern Lights (aurora Borealis), Literary Work, Medieval World
Pierre Gassendi - Wikipedia
Pierre Gassendi (1592 to 1655) was an early Enlightenment scholar, if lesser known today than such giants as Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Newton, Locke and Spinoza. He was, nonetheless, an influential figure who connects the philosophers of ancient Greece with the scientists of today and thus illuminates the transitioning of the medieval world into the modern.
The church in Champtercier.  Gassendi was born in Champtercier in the south of France, the son of a peasant farmer, and studied philosophy at the University of Aix-en-Provence.  In 1614, he obtained a doctorate in Theology and, in 1617, was ordained a priest, eventually rising to become provost of the Cathedral Chapter of Digne.  In 1617, he was also awarded the chair of Philosophy at the University Aix-en-Provence where he lectured on Aristotle. Francophone Countries, Destinations, Travel House, Aix En Provence, Westeros, Romanesque, South Of France, Priest, First World
Champtercier - Wikipedia
The church in Champtercier. Gassendi was born in Champtercier in the south of France, the son of a peasant farmer, and studied philosophy at the University of Aix-en-Provence. In 1614, he obtained a doctorate in Theology and, in 1617, was ordained a priest, eventually rising to become provost of the Cathedral Chapter of Digne. In 1617, he was also awarded the chair of Philosophy at the University Aix-en-Provence where he lectured on Aristotle.
Disquiet over Gassendi’s criticisms of Aristotelianism and the assuming of control of the University of Aix-en-Provence by the Jesuits subsequently forced Gassendi out of his position of chair of Philosophy. Catholic Feast Days, Saint Feast Days, Catholic Saints, Roman Catholic, Catholic Church, Cistercian Monk, Greek Names, Jesuit, God The Father
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Disquiet over Gassendi’s criticisms of Aristotelianism and the assuming of control of the University of Aix-en-Provence by the Jesuits subsequently forced Gassendi out of his position of chair of Philosophy.
A key facilitator of European intellectual debate at this time was friar, mathematician and polymath Marin Mersenne, (1588 to 1648) dubbed ‘the secretary of learned Europe’, who engaged and corresponded with the foremost scholars of the day, including Descartes (1596 to 1650) who was also a friend. Language Of Computer, Music Theorist, Leonhard Euler, Learning Fractions, Maths, Carl Friedrich, Mermaid Stories, Dividing Decimals, Prime Numbers
Marin Mersenne - Wikipedia
A key facilitator of European intellectual debate at this time was friar, mathematician and polymath Marin Mersenne, (1588 to 1648) dubbed ‘the secretary of learned Europe’, who engaged and corresponded with the foremost scholars of the day, including Descartes (1596 to 1650) who was also a friend.
Académie des sciences.  It was largely Mersenne who introduced Galileo to France.  In Paris, from 1633, he was at the centre of regular meetings of mathematicians and physicists, in many ways a precursor of the Royal Society (1660) and the Académie des sciences (1666).   Mersenne’s informal network highlights how new radical theories and ideas were able to side-step the constraints of formal educational institutions that were dominated by the orthodoxies of Aristotelian scholasticism. Louis Xiv, Versailles, Ludwig Xiv, Age Of Enlightenment, Historical Artwork, Jean Baptiste, French History, Academy Of Sciences, Art Pages
French Academy of Sciences - Wikipedia
Académie des sciences. It was largely Mersenne who introduced Galileo to France. In Paris, from 1633, he was at the centre of regular meetings of mathematicians and physicists, in many ways a precursor of the Royal Society (1660) and the Académie des sciences (1666). Mersenne’s informal network highlights how new radical theories and ideas were able to side-step the constraints of formal educational institutions that were dominated by the orthodoxies of Aristotelian scholasticism.
The Church Fathers.  The activities of Mersenne and the scholars with whom he communicated were a symptom of the crisis of authority that had been convulsing Europe since the Reformation.  The establishment of competing faiths undermined the once unquestioned textual authority of the scriptures, Church Fathers and ancient classical philosophers upon which the edifice of Medieval Christian thought rested. Catholic Answers, Catholic Faith, Early Christian, Christian Art, Brothers Of Jesus, Antonin Le Pieux, Ignatius Of Antioch, Spiritism
Church Fathers - Wikipedia
The Church Fathers. The activities of Mersenne and the scholars with whom he communicated were a symptom of the crisis of authority that had been convulsing Europe since the Reformation. The establishment of competing faiths undermined the once unquestioned textual authority of the scriptures, Church Fathers and ancient classical philosophers upon which the edifice of Medieval Christian thought rested.
Geocentric model (Science Photo Library). The work of natural philosophers such as Copernicus and Galileo, who demolished the idea that the Earth was at the centre of the universe, undermined this authority even further.  Men such as Mersenne, Gassendi and Descartes were in the vanguard of those trying to work through the implications of this epistemological challenge: how was knowledge possible in the absence of textual authority? Shape Of The Universe, Sacred Science, Alchemy Art, Astrology Art, Spiritual Symbols, Magical Art, Tarot Art, Symbology, Literature Art
Ptolemaic System, Geocentric Model, 1531 - Stock Image - C030/4464
Geocentric model (Science Photo Library). The work of natural philosophers such as Copernicus and Galileo, who demolished the idea that the Earth was at the centre of the universe, undermined this authority even further. Men such as Mersenne, Gassendi and Descartes were in the vanguard of those trying to work through the implications of this epistemological challenge: how was knowledge possible in the absence of textual authority?
In 1642, in what was to become a very public dispute, Gassendi published his objections to Descartes’ propositions in which he attacked Descartes’ failure to establish the reality of innate ideas (as a defence against solipsism, Descartes had asserted that clear and distinct innate ideas must be true). He also highlighted, in particular, the mind-body problem. Cogito Ergo Sum, History Of Philosophy, Modern Philosophy, Meditation Quotes, Meditations On First Philosophy, Rene Descartes, Idealism, Bible Knowledge, Rationalism
Meditations on First Philosophy - Wikipedia
In 1642, in what was to become a very public dispute, Gassendi published his objections to Descartes’ propositions in which he attacked Descartes’ failure to establish the reality of innate ideas (as a defence against solipsism, Descartes had asserted that clear and distinct innate ideas must be true). He also highlighted, in particular, the mind-body problem.
René Descartes's illustration of dualism. Descartes maintained that the body and the mind were distinct entities: the body was material, non-thinking and extended through space; the mind was immaterial, thinking and non-extended (ie, the soul).  If that was the case, however, Gassendi queried, how could the two interact?  By what mechanism could the mind direct the body? Illuminati, Tantra, Adhd Solutions, Yoga Kundalini, Philosophy Of Mind, Pineal Gland, Visual Perception, Dissociation
Mind–body dualism - Wikipedia
René Descartes's illustration of dualism. Descartes maintained that the body and the mind were distinct entities: the body was material, non-thinking and extended through space; the mind was immaterial, thinking and non-extended (ie, the soul). If that was the case, however, Gassendi queried, how could the two interact? By what mechanism could the mind direct the body?
Gassendi’s own approach to the epistemological problem of the foundation of knowledge rejected both the fatalism of the ancient skeptics and the requirement for certainty demanded by Aristotle and Descartes.  For Gassendi, scientific knowledge could only be probabilistic.  The stronger the evidence, the more probable the truth claim.   The empirical nature of such knowledge, however, always allowed the possibility of contradictory evidence being discovered at some future point. Johannes, Constellations, History Of Astronomy, Ancient Astronomy, Nicolaus Copernicus, Moon Map, Western World, Moyen Age, Cartography
Scientific scientists of the 17th Century
Gassendi’s own approach to the epistemological problem of the foundation of knowledge rejected both the fatalism of the ancient skeptics and the requirement for certainty demanded by Aristotle and Descartes. For Gassendi, scientific knowledge could only be probabilistic. The stronger the evidence, the more probable the truth claim. The empirical nature of such knowledge, however, always allowed the possibility of contradictory evidence being discovered at some future point.
It is very likely that Gassendi’s ideas influenced the thinking of Locke and certainly today it is Gassendi’s probabilistic conception of knowledge which dominates scientific thought.   Arguably, this is also the conception of knowledge that is most typical of the Western mindset generally. Majority Rule, Classical Liberalism, Social Equality, Social Contract, John Locke, Political Ideology, Colonial America, Dubious, Stone
Was John Locke Really a Liberal?
It is very likely that Gassendi’s ideas influenced the thinking of Locke and certainly today it is Gassendi’s probabilistic conception of knowledge which dominates scientific thought. Arguably, this is also the conception of knowledge that is most typical of the Western mindset generally.
Gassendi developed an early interest in mechanical philosophy and the work of Epicurus (341BC to 270BC) and his followers as a consequence of contact in 1629 with a learned Dutch schoolmaster called Isaac Beeckman (1588 to 1637).  Supporters of mechanical philosophy believed in action by contact and rejected the idea of attractive forces and action at a distance.  Gassendi’s engagement with Epicurean ideas was to profoundly influence his own thought. School Of Philosophy, Hedonism, Active Listening, Stoic, Atheist, Art Of Living, Ancient Greece, Life Lessons, Fear
Epicurus - Wikipedia
Gassendi developed an early interest in mechanical philosophy and the work of Epicurus (341BC to 270BC) and his followers as a consequence of contact in 1629 with a learned Dutch schoolmaster called Isaac Beeckman (1588 to 1637). Supporters of mechanical philosophy believed in action by contact and rejected the idea of attractive forces and action at a distance. Gassendi’s engagement with Epicurean ideas was to profoundly influence his own thought.
Gassendi’s Epicurus – Part 1 – Life of Epicurus.  Epicurus explored the idea of a good life and concluded that it was one that maximised pleasure and minimised pain.  As well as bodily pain he identified fear of gods and punishment in the afterlife as significant causes of distress.  To combat these sources of anxiety he sought to rule out divine intervention and to explain all phenomena in the natural and human world in mechanical and materialistic terms. Study History, Materialistic, Afterlife, Jerusalem, Punishment, Phenomena, Intervention, Distress, Enlightenment
Gassendi’s Epicurus – Part 1 – Life of Epicurus
Gassendi’s Epicurus – Part 1 – Life of Epicurus. Epicurus explored the idea of a good life and concluded that it was one that maximised pleasure and minimised pain. As well as bodily pain he identified fear of gods and punishment in the afterlife as significant causes of distress. To combat these sources of anxiety he sought to rule out divine intervention and to explain all phenomena in the natural and human world in mechanical and materialistic terms.
Philippe de Champaigne Vanitas, ‘Life, Death, Time’.  Key aspects of Epicurean philosophy included a belief that the aim of philosophy was to attain tranquillity, that man possessed freewill, that our soul did not continue after death, that the natural world was based upon the interaction of atoms in a void and, most significantly, that nothing should be believed without empirical evidence and logical deduction. Memento Mori Art, Museo Hermitage, Vanitas Paintings, Philippe De Champaigne, Vanitas Vanitatum, Momento Mori, Arte Horror, Gothic Horror, Life And Death
Epicureanism and the Problem of Premature Death
Philippe de Champaigne Vanitas, ‘Life, Death, Time’. Key aspects of Epicurean philosophy included a belief that the aim of philosophy was to attain tranquillity, that man possessed freewill, that our soul did not continue after death, that the natural world was based upon the interaction of atoms in a void and, most significantly, that nothing should be believed without empirical evidence and logical deduction.
Despite his criticisms of scholasticism Gassendi never wavered in his loyalty to the Catholic Church or in his belief in the correctness of its theology.  Where Christian theology and Epicurean philosophy clashed, Gassendi chose the side of Christian theology. Catholic Art, Religious Art, Renaissance, Dominican Friar, Western Philosophy, Catholic Online
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Despite his criticisms of scholasticism Gassendi never wavered in his loyalty to the Catholic Church or in his belief in the correctness of its theology. Where Christian theology and Epicurean philosophy clashed, Gassendi chose the side of Christian theology.
Gassendi provided a coherent account of how macro-level physical structures and behaviour could be related to the properties of atoms at a micro-level, allowing him to ditch, for example, the Platonic idea that the motions of animate creatures had an internal cause (i.e. the soul).  Existence based on atomism appealed to Gassendi as it allowed God more flexibility to intervene in creation than did the immutable essences of things as posited by Aristotelian thought. William Blake Paintings, William Blake Art, Art Visionnaire, Desenhos Halloween, Visionary Art, Painting Reproductions, Fine Art, Sacred Geometry
Gassendi provided a coherent account of how macro-level physical structures and behaviour could be related to the properties of atoms at a micro-level, allowing him to ditch, for example, the Platonic idea that the motions of animate creatures had an internal cause (i.e. the soul). Existence based on atomism appealed to Gassendi as it allowed God more flexibility to intervene in creation than did the immutable essences of things as posited by Aristotelian thought.
Johannes Hevelius.   Examples of Gassendi hands-on interest in empirical science can be found in his work in astronomy, optics and mechanics with all the practicalities of instrumentation and measurements that entailed.  He made extensive astronomical observations to be able to calculate planetary positions, suggesting that his sympathies lay with heliocentrism. Illustrations Harry Potter, Scientific Revolution, Royal Society, Sunspots, Renaissance Era, Le Web, Picture Library, Medieval
Johannes Hevelius. Examples of Gassendi hands-on interest in empirical science can be found in his work in astronomy, optics and mechanics with all the practicalities of instrumentation and measurements that entailed. He made extensive astronomical observations to be able to calculate planetary positions, suggesting that his sympathies lay with heliocentrism.
Gassendi used a camera obscura to attempt to calculate the diameter of the moon. History Of Photography, Photography Camera, Photography Work, Digital Photography, Craft Photography, Electronics Projects, Camera Tattoos, Optical Phenomena, Iceland Photos
Camera obscura - Wikipedia
Gassendi used a camera obscura to attempt to calculate the diameter of the moon.
In 1631, confirming a prediction made by Johannes Kepler, Gassendi became the first astronomer to witness Mercury’s transit in front of the Sun, which he did in Paris by projecting an image of the Sun from his telescope onto a white screen. Mercury Transit, Mercury Planet, Science Decor, Science Fun, Science News, Johannes Kepler, Telescope Accessories, Space News, Happy New Year 2019
Mercury to transit across the Sun
In 1631, confirming a prediction made by Johannes Kepler, Gassendi became the first astronomer to witness Mercury’s transit in front of the Sun, which he did in Paris by projecting an image of the Sun from his telescope onto a white screen.
Gassendi was a fierce critic of astrology, the truth claims of which could not be empirically substantiated. Astrology And Horoscopes, Vedic Astrology, Astrology Tattoo, Astrology Signs, Zodiac Signs, Pieter Bruegel El Viejo, Celestial Map, Astrology Predictions, Elemental Powers
What would the ancient astrologers have told us about 2017?
Gassendi was a fierce critic of astrology, the truth claims of which could not be empirically substantiated.
Gassendi undertook the earliest attempt to work out the speed of sound by measuring the difference between seeing the flash of a gun and hearing its shot.  He calculated it to be 478.4 metres per second (the actual speed is 331.29 metres). Irish Images, Thirty Years' War, Speed Of Sound, Jilin, Lost Art, Musketeers, Countries Of The World, Historian, Woodcut
Soldaat die zijn musket, steunend op zijn furket, afvuurt (nr. 12), ca. 1600, Jacques de Gheyn (II) (workshop of), after Jacques de Gheyn (II), 1597 - 1608 - Rijksmuseum
Gassendi undertook the earliest attempt to work out the speed of sound by measuring the difference between seeing the flash of a gun and hearing its shot. He calculated it to be 478.4 metres per second (the actual speed is 331.29 metres).
'Leviathan' by Thomas Hobbes. A very good example of the exchange and propagation of ideas that was taking place in the seventeenth century beyond formal academic institutions can be observed in the relationship between Gassendi and Thomas Hobbes.  Hobbes’ account of nature rooted in mechanical motion was substantially influenced by his contact with Gassendi and the Mersenne circle in the mid-1630s. Vacation Ideas, Vacation Travel, Social Contract Theory, Art Du Temps, Offenbarung Des Johannes, Thomas Hobbes, Politisches System, Political Theory, Political Science
Leviathan (Hobbes book) - Wikipedia
'Leviathan' by Thomas Hobbes. A very good example of the exchange and propagation of ideas that was taking place in the seventeenth century beyond formal academic institutions can be observed in the relationship between Gassendi and Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes’ account of nature rooted in mechanical motion was substantially influenced by his contact with Gassendi and the Mersenne circle in the mid-1630s.
Robert  Boyle.  Gassendi’s reputation and the importance of his legacy in philosophy and science is being somewhat rehabilitated having been overshadowed by Descartes.  He was well known amongst British thinkers and his influence upon major figures such as Hobbes, Boyle, Locke, Newton and Hume are being increasingly recognised. Robert Boyle, Britannica, County Waterford, Christian Devotions, Earth Science, Natural History, Biography, Daily Fun Facts, Dead
Robert Boyle | Biography, Contributions, Works, & Facts
Robert Boyle. Gassendi’s reputation and the importance of his legacy in philosophy and science is being somewhat rehabilitated having been overshadowed by Descartes. He was well known amongst British thinkers and his influence upon major figures such as Hobbes, Boyle, Locke, Newton and Hume are being increasingly recognised.