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Tradition and innovation in René Descartes' les Météores: between rupture with Aristotelianism and continuity with scholastic thought

Grant number: 19/01323-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2019
Effective date (End): March 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal researcher:Fátima Regina Rodrigues Évora
Grantee:Thiago Henrique Rosales Marques
Home Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:15/05317-8 - Theories of causation and human agency in ancient Greek philosophy, AP.TEM


This project aims to examine in detail, at the same time in a philosophical and philological perspective, the reception in René Descartes's Les Météores both of Aristotle's Meteorology as well of its ancient commentaries (such as Philoponus of Alexandria, Alexander of Aphrodisias and Olympiodorus, the young) and also scholastic commentaries, mainly the Commentarii Conimbrincensis. In this scope, I consider as study cases, the theory of exhalations, the theory of mixtures and how they are related to explanations of meteorological phenomena. I consider each of these subjects through the light of Aristotelian hylomorphism and in face of the Cartesian mechanistic project, comparing both with the thought of the ancient commentators and the scholastic tradition expressed in the Conimbricensis. For, by the one hand Descartes rejects the qualitative physics and the Aristotelian hylomorphism, by the other hand he keeps, as well the scholastic thinkers, that the theory of mixtures gives unity in the meteorological phenomena description. Thus, I aim to determine how Les Météores results from an interpretative tradition and how it represents a rupture with this tradition. This analysis allows too, considering interpretative problems between the Meteorology and the extent of the corpus Aristotelicum, determine how attempts of solving such problems result in a new science of nature during the 16th and 17th centuries. (AU)