Pierre Gassendi

Updated on: 04.01.2015

Alias

Gassend, Gassendi

Group(s)

   ► Individuals ► Scientist ► Mathematics
   ► Individuals ► Philosophy

Image(s)

Lifetime

Born: 22.01.1592 in Champtercier, Provence, France
Passed away: 24.10.1655, Paris

About

Pierre Gassendi was a French philosopher, priest, scientist, astronomer, and mathematician. While he held a church position in south-east France, he also spent much time in Paris, where he was a leader of a group of free-thinking intellectuals. He was also an active observational scientist, publishing the first data on the transit of Mercury in 1631. The lunar crater Gassendi is named after him.

He wrote numerous philosophical works, and some of the positions he worked out are considered significant, finding a way between scepticism and dogmatism. Richard Popkin indicates that Gassendi was one of the first thinkers to formulate the modern "scientific outlook", of moderated scepticism and empiricism. He clashed with his contemporary Descartes on the possibility of certain knowledge. His best known intellectual project attempted to reconcile Epicurean atomism with Christianity.

Publications

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