Physics

30 - A Likely Story: Plato's Timaeus

Posted on 23 April 2011

Peter looks at Plato's Timaeus, focusing on the divine craftsman or demiurge, the receptacle, and the geometrical atomism of Plato's elemental theory.

15 comments
39 - Form and Function: Aristotle's Four Causes

Posted on 26 June 2011

Aristotle's Physics presents four types of cause: formal, material, final and efficient. Peter looks at all four, and asks whether evolutionary theory undermines final causes in nature.

52 comments
40 - Let's Get Physical: Aristotle's Natural Philosophy

Posted on 3 July 2011

Before Isaac Newton (and Olivia Newton John), there was Aristotle. Peter looks at his Physics, focusing on the notions of actuality and potentiality and how they help to explain such concepts as time and motion.

24 comments
41 - Richard Sorabji on Time and Eternity in Aristotle

Posted on 10 July 2011

Peter talks to Sir Richard Sorabji about Aristotle's physics, focusing on the definition of time and the eternity of the universe.

35 comments
55 - The Constant Gardener: Epicurus and his Principles

Posted on 20 November 2011

Peter begins to examine the philosophy of Epicurus, focusing on his empiricist theory of knowledge and his atomic physics.

16 comments
58 - Reaping the Harvest: Lucretius

Posted on 11 December 2011

Lucretius’ poem On the Nature of Things sets Epicureanism into verse. Peter takes a look at its treatment of the soul, free will and the swerve and human society.

6 comments
62 - We Didn’t Start the Fire: the Stoics on Nature

Posted on 8 January 2012

Peter looks at the Stoic idea of god, a providential fire that pervades nature, and considers their idea of a deterministic and eternally recurring cosmos.

20 comments
98 - For a Limited Time Only: John Philoponus

Posted on 14 October 2012

John Philoponus refutes Aristotle’s and Proclus’ arguments for the eternity of the universe, and develops new ideas in physics.

14 comments
165 - Neither the Time Nor the Place: Hasdai Crescas

Posted on 2 March 2014

Ḥasdai Crescas shows Aristotelian physics who’s boss, by defending alternative conceptions of time, place and infinity.

24 comments
172 - All Things Considered: Abū l-Barakāt al-Baghdādī

Posted on 20 April 2014

Abū l-Barakāt al-Baghdādī makes up his own mind about physics and the soul, and along the way inaugurates a new style of doing philosophy.

13 comments
214. The Good Book: Philosophy of Nature

Posted on 8 March 2015

As early medieval science blossoms, Bernard Silvestris and Alan of Lille personify Nature in their philosophical prose-poems.

4 comments
226. Full of Potential: Thirteenth Century Physics

Posted on 31 May 2015

Richard Rufus and anonymous commentators on Aristotle explore the nature of motion, time, infinity and space.

8 comments
240. Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Albert the Great’s Natural Philosophy

Posted on 8 November 2015

Albert the Great earns his nickname “universal doctor” by devoting himself to the whole of nature, from geology and botany to the study of human nature.

2 comments
38. A Day in the Life: Theories of Time

Posted on 19 March 2017

Ancient Indian cosmology and the Vaiśeṣika defense of the reality of time and space.

0 comments
279. Quadrivial Pursuits: the Oxford Calculators

Posted on 4 June 2017

Bradwardine and other thinkers based at Oxford make breakthroughs in physics by applying mathematics to motion.

2 comments
280. Get to the Point: Fourteenth Century Physics

Posted on 18 June 2017

Ockham, Buridan, Oresme and Francis of Marchia explore cosmology, atomism, and the impetus involved in motion.

10 comments
45. Motion Denied: Nāgārjuna on Change

Posted on 25 June 2017

Nāgārjuna applies his emptiness theory to motion, change, and cognition.

2 comments
283. Jack Zupko on John Buridan

Posted on 30 July 2017

Peter speaks to Jack Zupko about John Buridan's secular and parsimonious approach to philosophy.

0 comments
322. Do the Math: Science in the Palaiologan Renaissance

Posted on 7 April 2019

Mathematics and the sciences in Byzantium, focusing on scholars of the Palaiologan period like Blemmydes and Metochites.

9 comments
365. Spirits in the Material World: Telesio and Campanella on Nature

Posted on 31 January 2021

Was the anti-Aristotelian natural philosophy of Bernardino Telesio and Tommaso Campanella the first modern physical theory?

7 comments
368. Boundless Enthusiasm: Giordano Bruno

Posted on 14 March 2021

Giordano Bruno’s stunning vision of an infinite universe with infinite worlds, and his own untimely end.

6 comments
369. The Harder They Fall: Galileo and the Renaissance

Posted on 28 March 2021

Did Galileo’s scientific discoveries grow out of the culture of the Italian Renaissance?

8 comments
387. Helen Hattab on Protestant Philosophy

Posted on 2 January 2022

An interview with Helen Hattab on the scope and impact of scholastic philosophy among Protestants.

3 comments
388. Just Add Salt: Paracelsus and Alchemy

Posted on 16 January 2022

Paracelsus adapts the tradition of alchemical science for use in medicine, and in the process overturns the scientific theories of Aristotle and Galen.

5 comments
389. The Acid Test: Theories of Matter

Posted on 30 January 2022

Schegk, Taurellus, Gorlaeus, and Sennert revive atomism to explain chemical reactions, the composition of bodies, and the generation of organisms.

2 comments
395. Music of the Spheres: Johannes Kepler

Posted on 24 April 2022

Kepler combines Brahe's observations, Copernicus' astronomy, and Platonist metaphysics.

4 comments