Chapter

Platonism in early modern natural philosophy:

Christia Mercer

in Neoplatonism and the Philosophy of Nature

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199693719
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739019 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693719.003.0006
Platonism in early modern natural philosophy:

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Platonism played a much more significant part in the development of the new natural philosophy in the seventeenth century than has generally been understood. This paper displays the crucial role that Platonist doctrines about mind, soul, God, and emanative causation played in the natural philosophy of two seventeenth-century philosophers: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716) and Anne Finch Conway (1631–1679). The paper explores the failure of the metaphysical underpinnings of the mechanical philosophy, and displays the importance of early modern Platonism to right those metaphysical wrongs. The Platonism of Leibniz and Conway reveals a good deal both about the specific use of Platonist doctrines in grounding the new seventeenth-century natural philosophy and the precise motivations behind doing so.

Keywords: Conway; Leibniz; Platonism; early modern; mechanical philosophy; natural philosophy; emanation; Nature; mind

Chapter.  10860 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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