Matter and Form in Early Modern Science and Philosophy


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Matter and form have been fundamental principles in natural science since Greek Antiquity and their apparent rejection during the seventeenth century typically has been described as a precursor to the emergence of modern science. This volume reconsiders the fate of these principles and the complex history of their reception. By analyzing work being done in physics, chemistry, theology, physiology, psychology, and metaphysics, and by considering questions about change, identity, and causation, the contributors show precisely how matter and form entered into early modern science and philosophy. The result is our best picture to date of the diverse reception of matter and form among the innovators of the early modern period.

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Gideon Manning, Ph.D. (2006) in Philosophy, University of Chicago, is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the California Institute of Technology.
List of Contributors
List of illustrations

Three Biased Reminders about Hylomorphism in Early Modern Science and Philosophy, Gideon Manning

Body, Soul and Anatomy in Late Aristotelian Psychology, Michael Edwards

Living Atoms, Hylomorphism and Spontaneous Generation in Daniel Sennert, Hiro Hirai

Elective Affinity Before Geoffroy: Daniel Sennert’s Atomistic Explanation of Vinous and Acetous Fermentation, William R. Newman

Substantial Forms as Causes: From Suarez to Descartes, Tad Schmaltz

Mechanizing the Sensitive Soul, Gary Hatfield

Descartes and His Critics on Matter and Form, Atomism and Individuation, Roger Ariew

Spirit is a Stomach: The Iatrochemical Roots of Leibniz’s Theory of Corporeal Substance, Justin Smith

Leibnizian Hylomorphism, Daniel Garber


All those interested in intellectual history, the history of early modern science and philosophy and the reception of Aristotle and scholasticism in the seventeenth century.
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