Fisher (2014)

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Fisher, Saul. (2014) Pierre Gassendi. In Zalta (Ed.) (2016). Retrieved from

Title Pierre Gassendi
Resource Type collection article
Author(s) Saul Fisher
Year 2014
Collection Zalta (Ed.) (2016)


Pierre Gassendi (b. 1592, d. 1655) was a French philosopher, scientific chronicler, observer, and experimentalist, scholar of ancient texts and debates, and active participant in contemporary deliberations of the first half of the seventeenth century. His significance in early modern thought has in recent years been rediscovered and explored, towards a better understanding of the dawn of modern empiricism, the mechanical philosophy, and relations of modern philosophy to ancient and medieval discussions. While Gassendi is perhaps best known in history of philosophy for his disputes with Descartes, his relations with other major figures, including Kepler, Galileo, Mersenne, Beeckman, and Hobbes, represented even more important transactions of ideas. And while Gassendi also sought to communicate anew the ideas of Epicurus, the Stoics, and other earlier thinkers, his resulting amalgam of perspectives provides a modern view of his own making, one of the touchstones of philosophy and science in his times: our access to knowledge of the natural world is dependent on the constraints and licenses that follow from our epistemic grasp being limited to information provided by senses.