Gerauld De Cordemoy: Atomist, Occasionalist, Cartesian by Fred Ablondi

By Fred Ablondi

Gerauld de Cordemoy (1626-1684) was once one of many best French Cartesians of his day. He was once the only Cartesian atomist, and was once might be the 1st to argue that Cartesian metaphysics led inescapably to occasionalism. Fred Ablondi bargains the 1st book-length remedy in English of Cordemoy's paintings, filling a long-standing hole within the literature on seventeenth-century philosophical suggestion. Ablondi reconstructs and analyzes the arguments which Cordemoy hired to reach at this atomism and his occasionalism, treating them as philosophically and traditionally very important of their personal correct. as well as providing a normal advent to Cordemoy's philosophy, this e-book additionally examines many earlier interpretations of Cordemoy's thought--both these made by means of his personal contemporaries and in addition these by means of newer students. consequently, Cordemoy emerges as an unique and influential philosopher--and one that, regardless of his deviations from 'orthodox' Cartesianism, remained a great deal in the Cartesian culture.

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Extra info for Gerauld De Cordemoy: Atomist, Occasionalist, Cartesian

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Size—being of some quantity or other—is, unlike quantity, an essential property of body, in that it follows from the concept of extension itself: anything extended has the property of being sized. But while an extended thing must necessarily be of some size, it is not essential to it being of this or that particular size, that is, of this or that quantity. ”65 For this reason, one can always divide a given quantity, such division being, as said, essential to the very concept of quantity. 66 Thus while the quantity of a body can be divided, its size—its being some quantity or other—is still present as part of the essence of both resulting bodies.

63 Prost claims (1907, 174) that this passage is such a modification of Descartes’ philosophy that Descartes himself would never have accepted it on the grounds that extension is not only an essence for Descartes, but it is prior to individual bodies. Perhaps this is so: Descartes does hold that extension as the true and immutable essence of body is distinct from actually existing bodies. Yet he also clearly held that the essence of a substance and that substance of which it is an essence are distinguished only by reason.

The mistake, thinks Desgabets, is in part due to an over-reliance on the senses, something which Cordemoy himself had warned against. , 169. , 170. 59 While Cordemoy never responded to Desgabets, the Benedictine would seem with this point to have raised an important question for anyone holding atomism grounded upon a Cartesian metaphysics. , 171. 61 Ibid. 2• Cordemoy and Atomism 49 into, but is the mistake made by anyone tempted toward belief in the existence of a void. Despite the way things appear to us, we must, Desgabets warns, withdraw from our senses and realize that if there were truly nothing between the two walls, they would necessarily be touching.

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