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date: 20 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter concerns the contrasting approaches of Descartes and Hobbes to optics, first philosophy, and natural philosophy. In all three areas of inquiry both thinkers embraced the mechanistic “new philosophy”, according to which the phenomena of nature can be explained in terms of the motions and impacts of material bodies, yet they held radically different conceptions of what principles were essential to that philosophical program, the extent to which mechanism could be applied, and the role of God in both first philosophy and natural philosophy. Ultimately, even though they both aimed to offer an alternative to Aristotelianism, their differences were more significant than their similarities.

Keywords: Thomas Hobbes, optics, mechanism, Third Objections, natural philosophy

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