The Birthplace of Pierre Gassendi (1592-1655)

The Birthplace of Pierre Gassendi (1592-1655)

Pierre Gassendi, simply known as Gassendi, was born here in 1592 into a modest family. Thanks to his uncle, Gassendi studied and became a Doctor of Theology at the University of Avignon, and was then ordained a priest. From 1613 to 1623, he taught philosophy at the University of Aix-en-Provence. Passionate about astronomy, he made numerous observations throughout his life. He supported the ideas and principles of Copernicus. Gassendi shared written correspondence with Galileo. Provost of Digne from 1626, he divided his time between Digne and Paris where he taught mathematics at the Royal College from 1645 to 1648. With his friend, the philosopher Peyresc, he was fascinated by mineralogy, fossils and anatomy. Gassendi is best known for his opposition to Descartes's philisophical theory of a "middle way" between dogmatisms, arguing that his version of Epicureanism is compatible with a universe created by God. In this philosophical debate, the notion of time comes into play. While for Descartes, space is a substance independent of time, which is perceived as a series of accidents, for Gassendi, these two realities impose themselves even on God, space is uncreated and God exists prior to creation.



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