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Mechanical Philosophy Essay

1587 words - 7 pages

Mechanical Philosophy

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, natural philosophers were starting to reject Aristotelianism and began finding other forms of natural philosophy to study and believe in. One of the popular philosophies in the seventeenth century was mechanical philosophy. “Mechanical Philosophy sought to explain all natural phenomena in the terms of matter and motion without recourse to any kind of action at a distance (cause and effect without any physical contact) (Mechanical Philosophy).” This paper will go into detail about the mechanical philosophy’s background, advocates of the philosophy and later developments.
The mechanical philosophy was foreshadowed in ...view middle of the document...

Secondary qualities arise in the act of perception and have no independent or objective existence (Module 4 reading).” The first, matter and motion, a person could invoke the shape of a particle and its motion, but that is all. The idea that matter had any kind of active principle attaching to it was eliminated. The second, was all causation does occur through contact, such as nothing will be in motion unless an unknown force helps it get in motion. The third is the distinction between primary and secondary qualities, this was developed during the rise of modern science. Primary qualities are considered to be physical objects, always having the same shape and size. “By contrast, secondary qualities are related to perceivers by definition.…The qualities are temperature, smell, taste, and sound (Primary and Secondary Qualities).” Some people believe secondary properties do not actually exist. Are they “in the object” or “in the mind”, as more people research science they have come to the conclusion that the qualities exit only in the mind. Many religious people began rising objections, because of the belief that atomism, which relates to mechanical philosophy, was closely associated with atheism, but that did not stop scientists and philosophers from studying it.
There were many major advocates of mechanical philosophy, who did more and more research to make the philosophy more reliable. “Early advocates of the mechanical philosophy included David van Goorle (1591-1612), Sebastian Basso (fl. 1550-1600), Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), and various members of the Northumberland Circle of which Walter Warner (c. 1557- c. 1642), Thomas Harriot (1560-1621), and Nicholas Hill (c. 1570-1610) were members (Mechanical Philosophy).” Each of these men favored in some version of atomism, none of them developed a certain systematic philosophy. David van Goorle was a Dutch philosopher, who later went on to be modern atomists. Goorle attended the University of Franeker, where an anti-Aristotelian professor, Henri de Veen, had a decisive influence on him. From then on, he began to study theology and really expressed his views on atoms. His views on atoms made him one of the best atomists and his views on the mechanical philosophy became one of his main ideas. Another member was Sebastian Basso, he was an early theorist of matter theory based on both atoms and compounds. Sebastian was a French physician and natural philosopher of the beginning of the seventeenth century and he also formed the concept of the “molecule”.
René Descartes was from a wealthy French family, he wanted to find the answers to all the questions that bothered philosophers. When disappointed he begins to construct a new natural philosophy. Descartes separated mind and matter, he believes matter can have no soul and is only extension. The mind can be influenced by material things and can change the mental process. “Matter and motion were used by Descartes to explain...

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