Edmond Pourchot

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Edmond Pourchot.

Edmond Pourchot (1651, Poilly – 1734, Paris) was a university professor noted for his controversial advocacy of Cartesianism (and the Cartesian theory of mechanics) in place of Aristotelianism.[1][2] The change within the University of Paris from Aristotelianism to Cartesianism during the 1690s was important in the history of the development of natural philosophy in France and continental Europe.[3][4]

Pourchot was named Professor of Philosophy in 1677, and he was a long-standing vice-chancellor/rector of the University of Paris, where he taught for 26 years. He authored a popular multi-volume Latin text entitled Institutiones philosophicae ad faciliorem veterum, ac recentiorum philosophorum lectionem comparatae (Paris, 1695; Paris, 1700; Lyon, 1711; Venice, 1715; Lyon, 1716–1717; Venice, 1730 [standard edition]; Paris & Lyon & Padua, 1733; Padua, 1751; Venice, 1755).[5][6] This text was well regarded among eminent French intellectuals, and gained followers for Cartesianism in many other countries including Turkey and Poland.[7][8] He was also a scholar of the Hebrew language. The Latin form of his name was Edmundus Purchotius (Edmundi Purchotii).

Institutiones Philosophicae (1717).
  1. including a world map showing Terra Australis, the Prime Meridian passing through El Hierro, and the Island of California (Table 24)
  2. including a presentation of heliocentric Cartesian ethereal vortices in/around the solar system (Table 20)...[14] this theory was supported by many notable scientists (for example Christiaan Huygens and Johann Bernoulli) prior to being supplanted by Newtonian mechanics (published 1686)[15][16]
  3. including an armillary sphere showing the plane of the ecliptic on the celestial sphere (Table 16)
  4. including an illustration of magnetic field lines which were not fully understood for another 150 years until Faraday and Maxwell (Table 26)

Plates (Tables 16, 20, 24, 26) from Institutiones Philosophicae (Pourchot, 1717)[edit]

Pourchot-016.jpg Pourchot-003.jpg Pourchot-002.jpg Pourchot-026.jpg

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.scholasticon.fr/Database/Scholastiques_fr.php?ID=1040
  2. ^ Watt, R. Bibliotheca Britannica; Or a General Index to British and Foreign Literature. Edinburgh, 1824.
  3. ^ Brockliss, Laurence. The Moment of No Return: The University of Paris and the Death of Aristotelianism. Science & Education, March 2006, pp259-278.
  4. ^ Santinello, G. & G. Piaia. Models of the History of Philosophy. Springer, 2011.
  5. ^ Dates and places of publication from Heritage of the Printed Book database, COPAC, and BnF catalogues.
  6. ^ it:Edmond Pourchot
  7. ^ Chalmer's Biography, 1812, vol 25, p239.
  8. ^ Shaw, S.J. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. Cambridge University Press, 1976.
  9. ^ Institutiones philosophicae ad faciliorem veterum. 
  10. ^ Institutiones philosophicae ad faciliorem veterum ac recentiorum ... 
  11. ^ Institutiones philosophicae ad faciliorem veterum, ac recentiorum ... 
  12. ^ Institutiones philosophicae. 
  13. ^ Institutiones Philosophicae. 
  14. ^ "Descartes' Physics". 
  15. ^ Lakatos, Imre. The Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes. Cambridge University Press, 1978.
  16. ^ Solomon, Joan. The Structure of Space. Wiley, 1974.
  17. ^ Institutiones philosophicae, 1. 
  18. ^ Institutiones Philosophicae.