Gassendi's Ethics: Freedom in a Mechanistic Universe

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Cornell University Press, 1996 - 236 páginas

This is the first book to explore the ethical thought of Pierre Gassendi, the seventeenth-century French priest who rehabilitated Epicurean philosophy in the Western tradition. Lisa T. Sarasohn's discussion of the relationship between Gassendi's philosophy of nature and his ethics discloses the underlying unity of his philosophy and elucidates this critical figure in the intellectual revolution.

Sarasohn demonstrates that Gassendi's ethics was an important part of his attempt to Christianize Epicureanism. She shows how Gassendi integrated ideas of human freedom into a neo-Epicurean ethic where pleasure is the highest good, yet maintained a consistent belief in Christian providence. These views challenged what were then the new systems of philosophy, Hobbesian materialism and Cartesian rationalism. Sarasohn places Gassendi in his historical and intellectual context, considering him in relation to contemporary philosophers and within the patronage system that conditioned his own freedom. She investigates the links between his ethical thought and philosophy of science and makes sense of his attacks on astrology. Finally, her work clarifies Pierre Gassendi's considerable influence on seventeenth-century ethical and political philosophy, particularly on the work of John Locke--and thus on the whole English liberal tradition in political philosophy.

 

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Índice

Life and Context
1
Probability in Ethics Natural Philosophy and Epistemology
31
The Ethics of Pleasure and Freedom
51
Gassendi Descartes and Their Predecessors on
76
The Astrological Threat to Freedom
98
The Ethics of the Mechanical Universe
118
The Role of Freedom and Pleasure in the State and Society
142
Gassendi and Locke
168
Gassendi and the Enlightenment
198
Philosophicum
208
Works Cited
215
Index
231
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Sobre el autor (1996)

Lisa T. Sarasohn is Associate Professor of History at Oregon State University.

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