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

By Jonathan Bennett

Jonathan Bennett engages with the idea of six nice thinkers of the early smooth interval: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. whereas no longer neglecting the old environment 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 be successful? If now not, why no longer? What may be realized from its luck or failure? For novices to the early sleek scene, this essentially written paintings is a wonderful creation to it. these already within the comprehend can argue with the good philosophers of the previous, 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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2) Aristotle divided movements into two kinds—natural movements (downwards for solids) and violent movements (upwards for solids). Descartes flatly rejected this. ‘The term “violent” refers only to our will, which is said to suffer violence when something happens which goes against it. In nature, however, 17 4. 2 (3) In all its luxuriant richness of basic laws and principles, Aristotelian physics distinguishes—at a basic level in the theory—some places from others. Indeed, it does this in two ways.

WHY DESCARTES WANTED HIS DOCTRINE 27 Consider what happens in the Second Meditation when he discusses the piece of wax, concluding that its whole essence is extension. (He describes the wax as extended, flexible, and changeable; but the first of the trio is all he needs. ) He infers that ‘The nature of this piece of wax is in no way revealed by my imagination, but is perceived by the mind alone’ (CSM 2:21). He here uses ‘the mind’ to mean ‘the intellect’, as distinct from the imagination and the senses; and when he speaks of how we ‘perceive’ matter, he might as well have said ‘conceive’.

20 CHAPTER 1: PHYSICS Fourthly: Democritus did not show in detail how all things arose merely from the interaction of corpuscles; or rather, if he did show this in some cases, the reasons he gave for them did not hang together sufficiently to show that the whole of nature could be explained in the same way (at least one could not learn this from such of his opinions as have come down to us). But I leave it to the reader to judge whether the reasons I have offered in this treatise are interconnected enough, and if one can deduce enough things from them.

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