Matter and motion

In philosophy, matter and motion refers to a mechanical philosophy in which all phenomena is reduced to matter in motion and collisions between particles; developed largely by Isaac Beeckman and Rene Descartes in the early 17th century.

In c.1625, Isaac Beeckman, a Dutch philosopher and scientist, student supposedly of Snellius and Simon Stevin, teacher to Johan de Witt and Rene Descartes, developed a view of the world in which everything, from the motion of the heavens to musical harmonies, is explained by reducing it to matter in motion. [1] Beeckman ideas, supposedly, influenced Descartes and Pierre Gassendi.

The following are related quotes:

“Give me matter and motion, and out of them I will build the universe.”
Rene Descartes (c.1630), Publication (Ѻ); cited by Ludwig Buchner (1855) in Force and Matter (pg. 64)

“Most seventeenth-century scientists accepted Descartes ‘mechanical philosophy’, in which the universe was composed of matter and motion, and all natural philosophy could be explained by the collisions between particles.”
— Stephen Inwood (2002), The Man Who Knew Too Much (pg. 15) [2]

Hooke, along with Boyle and Wren and many of his contemporaries, accepted the proposition advanced in Descartes's Principles of Philosophy (1644) that the universe was composed of minute particles in a state of constant motion and arranged (by the hand of god) into perfect mechanical forms.”
— Stephen Inwood (2002), The Man Who Knew Too Much (pg. 63)

1. Berkel, Klaas. (2013). Isaac Beeckman on Matter and Motion: Mechanical Philosophy in the Making. JHU Press.
2. Inwood, Stephen. (2003). The Man Who Knew Too Much: the Strange and Inventive Life of Robert Hooke 1653-1703 (pg. 15). Pan MacMillan.

Further reading
● Maxwell, James. (1876). Matter and Motion. Publisher.

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