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BOOK REVIEWS 519 E. P. Bos and H. A. Krop, editors. FrancoBurgersdijk (159o-i635): Neo-Aristotelianism in Le/den. Studies in the History of Ideas in the Low Countries. Amsterdam and Atlanta: Editions Rodopi, 1993. Pp. 185. Paper, $35.oo. Although the name Burgersdijk does not ring a bell for most of us today, it was a preeminent one in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century academic circles. A professor of logic and ethics at Leiden, Burgersdijk wrote textbooks in these fields as well as in metaphysics and natural philosophy. Considered among the best in their genre, his books were mainstays in the schools and universities of not only the United Provinces, but also Britain and colonial North America. Burgersdijk's writings thus offer precious indications about the philosophical curriculum in the two centuries that followed . In addition, Burgersdijk lived in fascinating times--in the formative years of the Dutch Republic, immediately before Descartes leapt onto the intellectual stage. Although elementary, his writings challenge generalizations about the state of philosophy in the period immediately before Descartes. Burgersdijk's relative obscurity allowed the authors and editors of the volume to assume nothing about their readers' prior knowledge. The result is an excellent introduction to an influential teacher and his impact, but also to the context and some concepts of late medieval and early modern philosophy. Two articles deal primarily with Burgersdijk's logic. J. B. M. van Reijen shows how the Institutiones logicae, tailored to official demands for uniformity in preuniversity Latin schools, became an eclectic compromise between the dominant curricular Aristotelianism , a humanist emphasis on the text, Ramist concerns with method, and the avoidance of pitfalls in earlier texts. M. Karskens's "Subject, Object, and Substance in Burgersdijk's Logic" offers a lucid account of the pre-Kantian distinction between these concepts, showing that "subject" pertains to the substance considered with respect to its properties (metaphysics), whereas "object" considers the substance from the point of view of the knowing mind (epistemology). Especially significant is Burgersdijk 's (pre-Cartesian) awareness of the fact that subject and object were already used interchangeably in the context of the "subject matter" or "object" of a discipline. J. A. Van Ruler and H. A. Krop each analyze Burgersdijk's lnstitutiones metaphysicae from different points of view, concurring in the latter's interaction with, dependence on, and criticism of Su~rez. Van Ruler demonstrates that Burgersdijk's views on divine causality sided with the Jesuit cooperationist view, rejecting the Dominican "premotionist " view. H. A. Krop shows that Burgersdijk's natural theology draws upon Scotist assumptions mediated by Su~rez. In each case, the project was theoretically nonconfessional : its rationalist and pedagogical premises--Burgersdijk was teaching philosophy , not theology--led to conclusions that were not specifically Calvinist; indeed some of these would be overturned on confessional grounds by Burgersdijk's successors. M.J. Petty draws intriguing links between Burgersdijk's natural philosophy and the later Leiden Newtonianism of Musschenbroek and's Gravesande. In the process, he also challenges stereotypes of the early modern university, notably by pointing to the interest in Stoic physics, the eager combination of mathematics and physics, and Leiden's resonance with both the Padua ofJacopo Zabarella and the Coimbran commentaries. 520 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 33:3 jULY 1995 H. W. Blom's analysis of Burgersdijk's moral and political views shows them to be more valuable as gauges of their fields than his logical views--and far more responsive to debates in the early Dutch Republic. While Burgersdijk and his interpreters have viewed him as merely providing expositions of Aristotelian views, Biota shows just how far he strayed from the master in these areas. M. Feingo|d's contribution traces the widespread impact of Burgersdijk's textbooks on the English-speaking world, from private libraries through British and Irish universities to colonial Harvard and Yale, until Burgersdicius eventually faded from most university curricula in the mid-eighteenth century. This short book presents Burgersdijk as an astute pedagogue with a finger on the pulse of his time in important areas of philosophy and pedagogy. For persons familiar with the broad outlines of early modern philosophy, what is especially striking is the reappearance of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 519-520
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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