T. van Aanholt (Ted) MA

PhD candidate - History of Philosophy

T. van Aanholt (Ted) MA
Visiting address

Erasmusplein 1
6525 HT NIJMEGEN

Postal address

Postbus 9103
6500 HD NIJMEGEN

Working days Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Ted van Aanholt works as a PhD candidate at the Center for the History of Philosophy and Science of Radboud University and at the Dipartimento di Filosofia, Comunicazione e Spettacolo of Università Roma Tre. His expertise lies in the history of late medieval and early modern science and philosophy, in particular the relationship between church, science and philosophy.

PhD project: The Suppression of Atomism (1640-1680)
The early-modern period witnessed the revival of ancient atomism. But the neo-atomists faced major obstacles. They didn’t just have to give a satisfactory answer to Aristotle’s objections to atomism (how could something be both extended and indivisible?). Above all, Aristotle’s alternative, hylomorphism (matter-form philosophy), was still the pillar of scholastic university teaching and of theological reasoning, as the Catholic Church explained central elements of faith in terms of Aristotle’s philosophy. Transubstantiation, as its name indicates, was explained through a change in substantial forms – an explanation that was incompatible with atomism.

The Church hierarchies, religious orders and teaching institutes therefore felt threatened by the new atomistic currents. But they also did not want to lose their philosophical and pedagogical primacy. This constellation created a fascinating tension within the institutional Church, as some ecclesiastics attempted to partially absorb or even endorse atomist doctrines while others rejected every form of atomistic thinking as heterodox. In the end, the latter current won, ushering in the anti-modernism that would subsequently characterize the Church.

This project aims to reconstruct the Catholic responses to the new currents at the heyday of the atomistic revival (1640-1680) and to map the internal struggles taking place within the Church and its institutions

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