Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Impetus, Renaissance Concept of

  • Maarten Van DyckEmail author
  • Ivan Malara
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_261-1


The concept of impetus denoted the transmission of a power from the mover to the object moved. Many authors resorted to this concept to explain why a projectile keeps on moving when no longer in contact with its initial mover. But its application went further, as impetus was also appealed to in attempts to explain the acceleration of falling bodies or the motion of the heavens. It was widely applied in Renaissance natural philosophy, but it also raised a number of ontological questions concerning its precise nature.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Moral ScienceGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of MilanMilanItaly

Section editors and affiliations

  • Matteo Valleriani
    • 1
  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for the History of ScienceBerlinGermany