<biography, history of philosophy> French logician and philosopher (1592-1655). Gassendi revived interest in ancient atomism by defending a strictly mechanistic account of the physical world. Like Descartes, however, he exempted all thinking beings from this explanation. Gassendi proposed a limited empirical skepticism in Exercitationes Paradoxicae adversus Aristoteleos (Exercises against the Aristoteleans) (1624) and in the fifth set of Objections that were appended to the publication of Descartes's Meditations in 1641. The Disquisitio Metaphysica (1644) and Syntagma Philosophiae Epicuri (1649) contain a clear defence of his adherence to an atomistic natural philosophy. Recommended Reading: Pierre Gassendi's Institutio Logica: A Critical Edition With Translation and Introduction (Van Gorcum, 1981); Pierre Gassendi, Selected Works; and Margaret J. Osler, Divine Will and the Mechanical Philosophy: Gassendi and Descartes on Contingency and Necessity in the Created World (Cambridge, 1994).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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