Epicureanism at the Origins of Modernity
By (author) Catherine Wilson
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Epicureanism at the Origins of Modernity by Catherine Wilson
Book DescriptionThis landmark study examines the role played by the rediscovery of the writings of the ancient atomists, Epicurus and Lucretius, in the articulation of the major philosophical systems of the seventeenth century, and, more broadly, their influence on the evolution of natural science and moral and political philosophy. The target of sustained and trenchant philosophical criticism by Cicero, and of opprobrium by the Christian Fathers of the early Church, for its unflinching commitment to the absence of divine supervision and the finitude of life, the Epicurean philosophy surfaced again in the period of the Scientific Revolution, when it displaced scholastic Aristotelianism. Both modern social contract theory and utilitarianism in ethics were grounded in its tenets. Catherine Wilson shows how the distinctive Epicurean image of the natural and social worlds took hold in philosophy, and how it is an acknowledged, and often unacknowledged presence in the writings of Descartes, Gassendi, Hobbes, Boyle, Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley. With chapters devoted to Epicurean physics and cosmology, the corpuscularian or "mechanical" philosophy, the question of the mortality of the soul, the grounds of political authority, the contested nature of the experimental philosophy, sensuality, curiosity, and the role of pleasure and utility in ethics, the author makes a persuasive case for the significance of materialism in seventeenth-century philosophy without underestimating the depth and significance of the opposition to it, and for its continued importance in the contemporary world. Lucretius's great poem, On the Nature of Things, supplies the frame of reference for this deeply-researched inquiry into the origins of modern philosophy. .
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780199238811
(241mm x 164mm x 24mm)
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 19-Jun-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Catherine Wilson
Epicureanism: A Very Short Introduction, Paperback (December 2015)
This Very Short Introduction corrects the prevalent view of Epicureanism that often conjures up ideas of tasty delights and hedonism. Wilson explains the philosophical and scientific ideas of Epicurus and his followers and the legacy of Epicureanism on later European thought.
Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Early Modern Europe, Paperback (May 2013)
A team of leading scholars survey the development of philosophy in the period of extraordinary intellectual change from the mid-16th century to the early 18th century. They cover metaphysics and natural philosophy; the mind, the passions, and aesthetics; epistemology, logic, mathematics, and language; ethics and political philosophy; and religion.
Epicureanism at the Origins of Modernity, Paperback (November 2010)View all books by Catherine Wilson
This engaging and richly documented book examines the Scientific Revolution and the formation of the canon of early modern philosophy in light of the rediscovery and reworking of the materialistic philosophy of the ancient atomists, Epicurus and Lucretius. It is written equally for philosophers and historians.
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Author Biography - Catherine Wilson
Catherine Wilson is a leading contributor to the study of the history and philosophy of science and to 17th century studies. She has held academic posts and fellowships in the USA, Great Britain, Germany, and Canada and is currently Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
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