After reconstructing some fetures of the Scholastic treatment of contingency in natural philosophy, this paper draws a comparison between Descartes’ treatments of the issue of the laws of nature in Le Monde (1629-1633) and in the Principles of Philosophy (1644). On the basis of this comparison, it argues that elements of the Scholastic understanding of contingency as due to the impediment provided by matter are still present in the former. While in the Principles Descartes appears to equate contingency with an epistemological limitation in our understanding of the complexity of natural phenomena, in the conclusion I argue that some elements of his previous approach to the issue remains in his treatment of curvilinear motion.

Descartes’ Physics in Le Monde and the Late-Scholastic Idea of Contingency

Rodolfo Garau
2019

Abstract

After reconstructing some fetures of the Scholastic treatment of contingency in natural philosophy, this paper draws a comparison between Descartes’ treatments of the issue of the laws of nature in Le Monde (1629-1633) and in the Principles of Philosophy (1644). On the basis of this comparison, it argues that elements of the Scholastic understanding of contingency as due to the impediment provided by matter are still present in the former. While in the Principles Descartes appears to equate contingency with an epistemological limitation in our understanding of the complexity of natural phenomena, in the conclusion I argue that some elements of his previous approach to the issue remains in his treatment of curvilinear motion.
Contingency and Natural Order in Early Modern Science
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3718986
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