Pierre Gassendi


Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.

Gassendi, Pierre

(pyĕr gäsäNdē`), 1592–1655, French philosopher and scientist. A teacher and priest, Gassendi taught at Digne, Aix, and the Royal College at Paris and held several church offices. He ranked with the leading mathematicians of his day. He violently opposed the authoritarianism of Aristotle, especially in the Exercitationes paradoxicae adversus Aristoteleos (1624). He revived and interpreted the atomic theory of Democritus and Epicurus in terms of the new science, thereby opposing the Cartesian school, and also attempted to reconcile atomism and Epicurean ethics with the teachings of the church.

Gassendi, Pierre

 

Born Jan. 22, 1592, at Champtercier, in Provence; died Oct. 24, 1655, in Paris. French materialist philosopher who also did work in mathematics, astronomy, mechanics, and the history of science. Priest and professor of theology in Digne (from 1613), of philosophy in Aix (from 1616), and of mathematics at the College Royal in Paris (from. 1645).

Advocating the atomism and ethics of Epicurus, Gassendi opposed the theory of innate ideas and the metaphysics of Descartes from the standpoint of materialist sensationalism and in one work criticized scholastic Aristotelianism. Gassendi’s philosophical system comprises logic (which establishes the signs of truth and the ways leading to its cognition), physics, and ethics (the doctrine of happiness). According to Gassendi’s theories everything that exists is made up of atoms and void and is located in space, which is understood as the infinite possibility of being filled, and in time. Time and space were not created and cannot be destroyed, unlike atoms, which according to Gassendi were created by God but possessed an independent inner striving toward movement. The number of atoms is limited, albeit enormous. The soul is made up of special atoms dispersed throughout the body. The basis of cognition is the evidence of the sensory organs (sensations). Marx noted that having freed Epicurus “from the interdict imposed upon him by the church fathers and by the whole of the Middle Ages,” Gassendi at the same time strove “to reconcile his Catholic conscience with his pagan knowledge, Epicurus with the church” (K. Marx, and F. Engels, Iz rannikh proizvedenii, 1956, p. 23). Gassendi influenced J. Locke, P. Bayle and I. Newton. In his political outlook he shared the views of J. Bodin and believed in absolute monarchy, if it did not degenerate into tyranny.

WORKS

In Russian translation:Sochineniia. Introduction by E. P. Sitkovskii, vols. 1-2. Moscow, 1966-68.

REFERENCES

Bykhovskii, B. E. “P’er Gassendi i frantsuzskii materializm 17 veka.” Nauchnye tr. Moskovskogo gosundarstvennogo ekonomicheskogo in-ta, 1957, no. 1.
Pendzig, P. P. Gassendi: Metaphysik und ihr Verhältnis zur scholastischen Philosophie. Bonn, 1908.
Rochot, B. Les Travaux de Gassendi sur Epicure et sur I’atomisme. Paris, 1944.
Pierre Gassendi 1592-1655. Sa Vie et son oeuvre. Paris [1955].

E. P. SITKOVSKII

References in periodicals archive ?
(4.) Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, Pierre Gassendi, 11
En este momento de su formacion filosofica estudia con detenimiento, entre otros, a Pierre Gassendi y su atomismo.
In the opening pages of the volume, Hankins offers a chronology of the period under consideration that begins with the birth of Francisco Petrarca in 1304 and ends with the publication of Pierre Gassendi's Syntagma philosophiae Epicuri in 1655.
Newton's closest friend, perhaps best known for insisting that governments are bound by social contract to protect their citizens' "natural rights," including life, liberty, and private property, John Locke, the author argues, "had come to philosophy through science rather than the other way round, learning medicine, chemistry, and astronomy before encountering the likes of Descartes and Pierre Gassendi." Following his exile to the Netherlands, the wealthy inhabitants of which had discovered the "magic triangle of science, technology, and liberal trade" Locke became the founding champion of empiricism, the architect of the Enlightenment, and the inspiration behind the coming revolutions in both America and France.
In her introduction, Sarasohn (history, Oregon State University) admits that her interest in Margaret Cavendish, seventeenth century philosopher and writer, grew out of a 1984 study she made of the male scientific philosopher, Pierre Gassendi. The irony in this would be appreciated by Cavendish, who spent most of her career opposing the male hegemony in philosophical debate, while still being aware that it was unlikely to change.
the excellent study by Antonia Lolordo, Pierre Gassendi and the Birth of Early Modem Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).
Pierre Gassendi (1592-1655) was a French Catholic priest and an important member of the community of natural philosophers in the first half of the seventeenth century.
The result is a long book that often gives the impression of being superficial, an impression intensified by Watson's enjoyment of lists of quotations--in a single half-page paragraph he leads the reader through the thought of Francis Bacon, Pierre Gassendi, Leonardo da Vinci, Francis Quarles, Polonius, and Thomas Sprat, while bringing in The Beatles, Paul Simon, and Zeno as explanatory examples (p.
Pierre Gassendi (1592-1655) and many other natural philosophers in the first half of the seventeenth century argued in favor of the corpuscular theory of matter on philosophical grounds, as well as by appealing to empirical evidence.
The essays contextualize her writing historically and in relation to texts by her intellectual and literary predecessors and contemporaries such as Aristotle, Plutarch, Lucian, Francis Bacon, Robert Hooke, Thomas Hobbes, Rene Descartes, Pierre Gassendi, Thomas More, William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Robert Herrick, and John Milton.
Earth, too, wears these lights, the northern manifestation of which the French astronomer Pierre Gassendi gave a Latin name to in the seventeenth century: aurora borealis, "northern dawn." To the Lapps, who see them most often, they are "a fierce and powerful presence," and you will be fried in your boots if you look directly at them.
In separate chapters, Battigelli explores Cavendish's responses to influential figures of her time: Queen Henrietta Maria, Pierre Gassendi, Thomas Hobbes, and members of the Royal Society, especially Robert Hooke.