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The Architecture of MatterGalileo to Kant$
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Thomas Holden

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199263264

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199263264.001.0001

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The Case for Infinite Divisibility

The Case for Infinite Divisibility

(p.206) 5 The Case for Infinite Divisibility
The Architecture of Matter

Thomas Holden (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Documents and examines the main arguments for the infinite divisibility of space found in the early modern literature (in figures such as Descartes, Hobbes, and Kant). Also surveys the criticisms of these arguments found among the small group of so‐called ‘ungeometrical philosophers’ (including Berkeley and neo‐Epicureans like Gassendi). In assessing this debate, explores the rival rationalist and empiricist accounts of the epistemology of geometry in early modern philosophy. In the end, argues that the case for infinite divisibility falls short: no a priori argument can show that space is infinitely divisible.

Keywords:   Berkeley, Descartes, empiricist, Epicureans, Gassendi, Hobbes, infinite divisibility, Kant, rationalist, space

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