New PDF release: A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European

By Philipp Blom

ISBN-10: 0465028659

ISBN-13: 9780465028658

A depraved Company tells the extraordinary tale of Baron Thierry Holbach’s Parisian salon, an epicenter of freethinking that introduced jointly the best minds of the 18th century. Over wine-soaked dinner events, the best intellectuals of the Western world—figures reminiscent of Denis Diderot, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, David Hume, Adam Smith, Horace Walpole, and Benjamin Franklin—matched wits and scandalized each other with their very own ever-more-provocative principles. Writers of genius all, filled with wit and braveness (but additionally own contradictions, doubts, conflicts of moral sense, and their justifiable share of open arguments and love affairs), this crew of neighbors embodied an magnificent radicalism in ecu suggestion, so uncompromising and ambitious that its bracing, freeing, humanist imaginative and prescient has nonetheless no longer been absolutely discovered. As acclaimed historian Philipp Blom indicates, those thinkers’ research of our tradition is still as legitimate because it was once then, and has misplaced little of its capability to shock—or to strength us to confront with new eyes debates approximately our society and its destiny.

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Additional resources for A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment

Example text

Hobbes’s position on the foundations of physics in definition is, I would argue, intended as an atheist alternative to Descartes’s attempted derivation from God. But Leibniz’s program is precisely to show how the mechanical philosophy leads us to God. 264–5 (L 139–40); Loemker’s otherwise fine translation should be treated with extreme caution in these passages. Hobbes develops the concept of conatus (or ‘endeavour,’ as it is translated in Hobbes (1656)) in De corpore 15. On the relation between Hobbes and Leibniz on the notion of conatus, see Kabitz (1909) and Bernstein (1980).

The basic form of the argument is an infinite regress: Either the body in question must be assumed to have been a square from all eternity, or it has been made square by the impact of another body. . But if you say that it was made square by the motion of another body. . For if they say this body moves from eternity, there is no clear reason why it should not rather have rested from all eternity . . But if they say that this body is being moved by another body contiguous to it and in motion.

One possible way would be to identify the ultimate parts of bodies with the unextended points whose existence he proves in §§ 4–5. ’’ In that way, even though bodies are actually divided into points, there is still ‘‘no minimum in space or in body,’’ as Leibniz requires in § 3. Alternatively, though, Leibniz might have wanted to distinguish between the physically smallest parts in body that he refers to in § 3, what we might call physical points, and the unextended points of §§ 4–5, what we might call mathematical points.

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A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment by Philipp Blom


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