Marcus Adams

Affiliation: 

University of Pittsburgh

Aristotelianism in Early Modern Scientia: Rejected but not Forgotten

The Novatores notoriously eschewed the metaphysics of Aristotle and targeted the Renaissance and Modern varieties of Aristotelianism that still dominated their intellectual contexts. For example, René Descartes rejected substantial forms in his natural philosophy, and Thomas Hobbes frequently mocked the appeal to concepts, like 'immaterial substance', that his materialism reduced to Scholastic absurdities.

Materialist Mixed Mathematics: Hobbesian Optics, Natural Philosophy, and Politics

When discussing Hobbes’s natural philosophy, there is no better place to start than his optics. Among his contemporaries, Hobbes’s optics was considered a rival to Descartes’s Dioptrique (1637). Mersenne’s inclusion of Hobbes’s optical treatise in Ballistica (1644) is part of the evidence for this claim, and Hobbes’s optical work was known to all of the key individuals working in 17th century optics. Given his general manner of self-appraisal, it is perhaps unsurprising that Hobbes saw his work in optics as monumental.