Chapter

The Case for Infinite Divisibility

Thomas Holden

in The Architecture of Matter

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780199263264
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601743 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199263264.003.0005
 The Case for Infinite Divisibility

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Documents and examines the main arguments for the infinite divisibility of space found in the early modern literature (in figures such as Descartes, Hobbes, and Kant). Also surveys the criticisms of these arguments found among the small group of so‐called ‘ungeometrical philosophers’ (including Berkeley and neo‐Epicureans like Gassendi). In assessing this debate, explores the rival rationalist and empiricist accounts of the epistemology of geometry in early modern philosophy. In the end, argues that the case for infinite divisibility falls short: no a priori argument can show that space is infinitely divisible.

Keywords: Berkeley; Descartes; empiricist; Epicureans; Gassendi; Hobbes; infinite divisibility; Kant; rationalist; space

Chapter.  12496 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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