A Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary: Containing an by Charles Hutton

By Charles Hutton

A Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionar is a special sourcebook for historians of arithmetic, astronomy and philosophy. it really is Charles Hutton's so much famous paintings and generally thought of to be the successor to John Harris's nice Lexicon Technicum, or an common English Dictionary of the humanities and Sciences (1704). initially released in volumes in 1795-6, this expansive clinical encyclopedia comprises millions of motives of phrases and a wealth of biographical info at the significant British and eu scientists and philosophers. one of the biographical entries, which come with specified bibliographical descriptions, are Berkeley, Huygens, Boyle, Bacon, Gassendi, Flamsteed, Hooke, Brahe, Newton, Galileo and Halley. the various clinical phrases are concisely defined and illuminated via examples and illustrations.

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In fact, Echecrates had never heard of the ship of Theseus. ” Phaedo himself was not born an Athenian; he was from Elis, later captured, enslaved, and ransomed. ” Does he imply doubt in the pious myth, or is he recounting an alien custom faithfully? Phaedo, as a former slave, would know something of the varying customs of men and even more about whether he himself was the same when enslaved or liberated. The question returns to haunt us. Our life, our continuity, our immortality is at stake in the conversation of these characters from an ancient dialogue, long-dead or revived as they may be.

There is a disturbing issue here that tends Distinguishability and Paradox 53 to be overlooked: in earlier times, to be a person was a high dignity. “Persona” also denoted the mask worn by a character in a tragic drama. It is disturbing to think that, in Greek or Roman times, most of us would not have been considered persons, not just in this exalted, tragic sense but even in the barest legal meaning. In Roman law, only the father of a family, the paterfamilias, was a person in the eyes of the law; all the members of his household, including his children and slaves, fell under his authority, which gave him absolute right over their lives, including the right to kill them at will.

Here the continuity of the body is guaranteed by the sameness of the soul. Locke’s position seemed close to this, for he identified personhood with continuity of memory and soul. But this position was not acceptable to Edward Stillingfleet, bishop of Worcester, who attacked Locke’s position as inconsistent with the resurrection of the body and hence with the Christian faith. Besides giving theological objections, the bishop argued that location in space and time cannot suffice to distinguish the individuality of bodies.

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