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That's pretty funny. I always wondered if anyone knew what my name referred to. There's a Gassendi ring on Bomis:

What's appealing to me about Gassendi is his reevaluation of pleasure and pain and their role in Christianity.

A lot of Gassendi's philosophy is in the form of the scholarly study of Epicurus's work. A great contribution to philology, but I don't believe he added much to Epicurus about pleasure.

Although he smoozed with DesCartes, he believed that empirical knowledge was a legitimate contribution to our understanding of the world.

The exchanges between Descartes and Gassendi in the objections and replies to the Meditations are really quite unpleasant in their tone. I think there's a story that that they reconciled and were on moderately pleasant terms after that. I think it's a bit misleading to say that Descartes denied that empirical knowledge was a legitimate contribution to our understanding of the world. Better: Gassendi believe that all of our ideas have their ultimate origin in the senses, and Descartes denied this.

It's true that Gassendi was a practitioner of the new science. He corresponded with Galileo. I think he discovered at least one moon.

He was Godly and hedonistic.

Some people (not me) think he was a crypto-atheist. The hedonism is just epicureanism.

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

That's not true, I think. Of course, there were lots of people in the ancient world, the arabic world, and at the advent of the scholastic period who contradicted Aristotle. But even in the early modern period, there were a lot of people who contradicted Aristotelian dogma before Gassendi, e.g. Luther, Galileo, and Francis Bacon.

and propose that a finite number of atoms exist.

I bet that Bacon believed in a finite number of atoms (or a finite number of corpuscles at any rate). Did Gassendi believe in the finitude of the world? I don't know, and I'd be curious to find out.

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