David Gorlaeus (1591-1612): An Enigmatic Figure in the by Christoph Lüthy

By Christoph Lüthy

When David Gorlaeus [Gorlæus], a potential theology scholar, kicked the bucket tragically at twenty-one years previous, he left in the back of hugely cutting edge manuscripts, that have been released posthumously in 1620 and 1651, respectively. As his identification was once unknown, seventeenth-century readers understood him either as an anti-Aristotelian philosopher and a precursor of Descartes. against this, via the 20 th century, historians depicted him as an atomist, traditional scientist, or even a chemist. David Gorlaeus (1591–1612) seeks to tug jointly what's identified of this enigmatic determine. Combining a number of ancient resources, Christoph Lüthy offers a story of Gorlaeus’s lifestyles that casts mild on his unprecedented physique of labor and locations it firmly on the intersection among philosophy, the nascent average sciences, and theology.  
“Christoph Lüthy is the 1st to inform the whole tale of David Gorlaeus and to reconstruct his photograph at the foundation of all closing resources. displaying in a powerful approach that Gorlaeus is likely one of the key figures within the renewal of atomistic philosophy within the 17th century and an immense impression on many philosophers which are far better identified, he leaves us with the depression photo of somebody who died too younger to turn into one of many heroes of the medical revolution.”—Theo Verbeek, Utrecht University

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Extra info for David Gorlaeus (1591-1612): An Enigmatic Figure in the History of Philosophy and Science

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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.

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