Bodies and Their Potential Parts: The Not-So-Friendly Reception of Digbean Quantity

Laura Georgescu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


To Digby’s contemporaries, he is a corpusculairan philosopher committed to mechanical explanations. Typically, both corpuscularianism and mechanism are taken to entail a commitment to actual parts. However, Digby rejects actualism about parts, and endorses strong potentialism. The result puzzled his contemporaries. This chapter investigates how some of his readers responded to him on this point, with the purpose of clarifying how his corpuscularianism and mechanism play out in the context of his potentialism. I argue that, rather than the impediment to corpuscularianism and mechanism that it might seem, Digby’s potentialism allows him to circumvent various problems that arise in other models.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Philosophy of Kenelm Digby (1603–1665)
EditorsLaura Georgescu , Han Thomas Adriaenssen
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-99822-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-99821-9
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameInternational Archives of the History of Ideas Archives internationales d'histoire des idées

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