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date: 24 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Henry More was one of Descartes’s earliest English supporters, but later became one of his most vigorous critics. This chapter explores the philosophical connections between the two, focusing particularly on their views on body and spirit. More regarded life, not thought, as the principal attribute of immaterial substance, and he increasingly rejected Cartesian mechanism in favour of a vitally animated physical world. The principal attributes of body were impenetrability and discerpibility (i.e. divisibility, though ultimately into indivisible atoms). Body could not be defined in terms of extension, More argued, because spirits were extended too, space was really distinct from body, and a vacuum was possible (though not actually existent).

Keywords: Henry More, mechanical philosophy, soul, body, void, atom

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