I consider two events in late seventeenth-century philosophy: (i) the condemnation of Cartesianism by the church, the throne, and the university and (ii) the noncondemnation of Gassendism by the same powers. What is striking about the two events is that both Cartesians and Gassendists accepted the same proposition deemed heretical. Thus, what was sufficient to condemn Cartesianism was not sufficient to condemn Gassendism. As a result, I suggest that to understand what is involved in condemnation one has to pay close attention to the intellectual and/or social context and to rhetorical strategy, not just to the propositions condemned. In this case, what is at stake are some of the central propositions of corpuscularianism and the mechanical philosophy.

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