Chapter

Descartes's Physics

Jonathan Bennett

in Learning from Six Philosophers Volume 1

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780198250913
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597053 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198250916.003.0004

Series: Learning from Six Philosophers (2 Volumes)

 Descartes's Physics

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Reveals why Descartes must regard matter as infinitely divisible and describes the failure of his attempt to get qualitative variety out of structure or movement, when applied to an absolutely homogeneous mass of matter. Explains the loop theory (according to which all movement is of synchronously moving loops of matter) and the difficulty of relating it clearly to Descartes's theory of collisions. Rejects ‘traction’, Descartes's poor theory of weight, and Leibniz's charge that Descartes was a ‘new stoic’.

Keywords: collisions; Descartes; divisibility; Leibniz; loops; traction; weight

Chapter.  11774 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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