Volume 4, Issue 1, Spring 2015
Luís Miguel Carolino
Mixtures, Material Substances and Corpuscles in the Early Modern Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition: The Case of Francisco Soares Lusitano (1605–1659)
This paper analyzes the theory of mixtures, material substances and corpuscles put forward by the Portuguese Thomistic philosopher Francisco Soares Lusitano. It has been argued that the incapacity of the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition to reconcile an Aristotelian theory of mixtures with hylomorphism opened the way to the triumph of atomism in the seventeenth century. By analyzing Soares Lusitano’s theory of mixtures, this paper aims to demonstrate that early modern Thomism not only rendered the Aristotelian notion of elements compatible with the metaphysical bases of hylomorphism, but further incorporated an explanation of physical phenomena based upon the notion that bodies were basically made up of small and subtle corpuscles. By doing so, it shows that, contrary to what is so often claimed, early modern corpuscularism was not intrinsically incompatible with late Aristotelian philosophy.