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Extra info for David Gorlaeus (1591-1612): An Enigmatic Figure in the History of Philosophy and Science
The first and longer of the two is an octavo edition of 352 pages, which carries the following information on its title page (see Figures 3 and 4): Philosophical Exercises of David Gorlaeus of Utrecht, edited after the death of the author, in which the entire body of theoretical philosophy is discussed, and in which several essential dogmas of the Aristotelians are overturned. With a double index. All but one out of the dozens of copies of the Exercitationes that I have examined carry a title page that corresponds to Figure 3, which indicates as the publisher of the book the Commelin firm and a commission by the widow of Jan Commelin, without mention of the place of publication.
As the title page indicates, the book contains also a second treatise, which is called “Epistle on the Motion of the Earth” (Epistola de terrae motu) on the common frontispiece and “Dissertation on the Hypothesis of Copernican Astronomy” (Dissertatio de Hypoth[esi] Astron[omiae] Copernicanae) on the separate title page. What to Van Waesberge was an anonymous treatise was some decades ago identified by Reijer Hooykaas as a highly important early treatise by Georg Joachim Rheticus (1514-1574), Copernicus’ only pupil and his most faithful early propagator.
52 In this, he is the radical heir of a long tradition that ultimately goes back to William of Ockham (c. 1288-c. 1348), for whom an ens was a concrete singular thing (ens singularis). ”53 Again almost two centuries later, we now find Gorlaeus insisting that all entia possess unchangeable essential properties, and that existence is one of them. In fact, “essence” and “existence” coincide. Although the label ‘nominalism’ had a different meaning for each generation ever since it was first used in the fifteenth century, Gorlaeus clearly thought of himself as a nominalist.