Gassendi, Pierre (1592-1655)Catholic priest who was instrumental in replacing the influence of Aristotle. What's appealing to me about Gassendi is his reevaluation of pleasure and pain and their role in Christianity. Although he smoozed with DesCartes, he believed that empirical knowledge was a legitimate contribution to our understanding of the world.He was Godly and hedonistic. But he's also a very nice place to start a serious evaluation of Aristotle, who for better or worse (I'm inclined to believe the latter) was the most influential philosopher of all time. Gassendi was, to my knowledge, the first to contradict Aristotilian dogma and propose that a finite number of atoms exist.I figure I owe him the respect for his influence in spelling as well.
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