Roger Ariew presents a new account of Descartes as a philosopher who sought to engage his contemporaries and society. He argues that the Principles of Philosophy was written to rival Scholastic textbooks, and considers Descartes' enterprise in contrast to the tradition it was designed to replace and in relation to the works of the first Cartesians.
Descartes and the last Scholastics: objections and replies -- Descartes and the Scotists -- Ideas, before and after Descartes -- The Cartesian destiny of form and matter -- Descartes, Basso, and Toletus: three kinds of Corpuscularians -- Scholastics and the new astronomy on the substance of the heavens -- Descartes and the Jesuits of La Fleche: the Eucharist -- Condemnations of Cartesianism: the extension and unity of the universe -- Cartesians, Gassendists, and censorship -- The cogito in the seventeenth century.
Descartes' image of the tree of knowledge from the preface to the French edition of the Principles of Philosophy is usually taken to represent Descartes' break with the past and with the fragmentation of knowledge of the schools. But if Descartes' tree of knowledge is analyzed in its proper context, another interpretation emerges. A series of contrasts with other classifications of knowledge from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries raises some puzzles: claims of originality and radical break from the past do (...) not seem warranted. Further contrasts with Descartes' unpublished writings and with school doctrines lead to the ironic conclusion that, in the famous passage, Descartes is attempting to appeal to conventional wisdom and trying to avoid sounding novel. (shrink)
CONTENTS Introduction vii Descartes: Life and Times vii Principle of Selection for the Volume xvii A Bibliographical Note on Descartes’s Main Works xx Selected Bibliography of Primary and Secondary Sources xxii Acknowledgments xxiii Brief Chronology of Descartes’s Life and Works xxiv I. Early Works and Correspondence 1 Preliminaries andObservations 1 Rules for the Direction of the Mind 2 To Mersenne, On the Eternal Truths 28 The World or Treatise on Light [andMan] 30 To Mersenne,About Galileo’s Condemnation 43 II. Discourse on (...) Method 46 Author’s Preface 46 Part One 46 Part Two 50 Part Three 56 Part Four 60 Part Five 64 Part Six 73 III. Correspondence 83 To Silhon, Existence of God and of the Soul 83 To Plempius for Fromondus, Atomism and Mechanism 84 To Vatier, On the Discourse 86 To Regius, Knowledge of the Infinite 89 To Colvius, On Augustine and the Cogito 90 To Mersenne, Immortality of the Soul 91 To Mersenne, The Aim of the Meditations and the Context for the Principles 94 To Mersenne, On J.-B. Morin’s Proof for the Existence of God 95 IV. Meditations on First Philosophy 97 Letter of Dedication 97 Preface to the Reader 100 Synopsis of the Meditations 102 Meditation One: Concerning Those Things That Can Be Called into Doubt 104 Meditation Two: Concerning the Nature of the Human Mind: That It Is Better Known Than the Body 107 Meditation Three: Concerning God, That He Exists 113 Meditation Four: Concerning the True and the False 122 Meditation Five: Concerning the Essence of Material Things, and Again Concerning God, That He Exists 127 Meditation Six: Concerning the Existence of Material Things, and the Real Distinction between Mind and Body 132 V. Objections by Some Learned Men to the Preceding Meditations, with Replies by the Author 142 First Set of Objections 142 Reply by the Author to the First Set of Objections 149 Reply to the Second Set of Objections 159 Third Set of Objections, by a Famous English Philosopher, with the Author’s Replies 167 Fourth Set of Objections, by Antoine Arnauld, Doctor of Theology 177 Reply to the Fourth Set of Objections 182 Sixth Set of Objections 190 Reply to the Sixth Set of Objections 194 VI. Correspondence 207 To Mersenne, Idea Defined and Discussed 207 To Gibieuf, Ideas andion 209 To Buitendijck, Possibility of Doubting God’s Existence 212 To Elisabeth, Primitive Notions 213 To Mesland, On Freedom 216 VII. Principles of Philosophy 222 Preface 222 Part I. The Principles of Human Knowledge 231 Part II. The Principles of Material Things 253 Part III. The Visible World 262 Part IV. The Earth 263 VIII. Late Works and Correspondence 273 To Mesland, On Freedom 273 To Clerselier, Concerning Principles 274 To the Marquis of Newcastle,About Animals 275 To Chanut, On Nicholas Cusa and the Infinite 277 Notes Against a Program 281 To More, Replies to Objections 292 The Passions of the Soul 297 The Search After Truth by the Light of Nature 315 Index 325. (shrink)
Although Leibniz's writing forms an enormous corpus, no single work stands as a canonical expression of his whole philosophy. In addition, the wide range of Leibniz's work--letters, published papers, and fragments on a variety of philosophical, religious, mathematical, and scientific questions over a fifty-year period--heightens the challenge of preparing an edition of his writings in English translation from the French and Latin.
No single text could be considered more important in the history of philosophy than Descartes' Meditations. This unique collection of background material to this magisterial philosophical text has been translated from the original French and Latin. The texts gathered here illustrate the kinds of principles, assumptions, and philosophical methods that were commonplace when Descartes was growing up. The selections are from: Francisco Sanches, Christopher Clavius, Pierre de la Ramee, Francisco Suárez, Pierre Charron, Eustachius a Sancto Paulo, Scipion Dupleix, Marin Mersenne, (...) Pierre Gassendi, Jean de Silhon, François de la Mothe le Vayer, Charles Sorel, and Jean-Baptiste Morin. (shrink)
There is a popular view that Descartes and Pascal were antagonists. I argue instead that Pascal was a Cartesian, in the manner of other Cartesians in the seventeenth century. That does not, of course, mean that Pascal accepted everything Descartes asserted, given that there were Cartesian atomists, for example, when Descartes was a plenist and anti-atomist. Pascal himself was a vacuuist and thus in opposition to Descartes in that respect, but he did accept some of the more distinctive and controversial (...) aspects of Cartesianism, including his mechanistic philosophy and the consequent view that animals are automata. (shrink)
For this new edition, Roger Ariew has adapted Samuel Clarke's edition of 1717, modernizing it to reflect contemporary English usage. Ariew's introduction places the correspondence in historical context and discusses the vibrant philosophical climate of the times. Appendices provide those selections from the works of Newton that Clarke frequently refers to in the correspondence. A bibliography is also included.
We examine Duhem's critique of Maxwell, especially Duhem's complaints that Maxwell's theory is too bold or not systematic enough, that it is too dependent on models, and that its concepts are not continuous with those of the past. We argue that these complaints are connected by Duhem's historical criterion for the evaluation of physical theories. We briefly compare Duhem's criterion of historical continuity with similar criteria developed by "historicists" like Kuhn and Lakatos. We argue that Duhem's rejection of theoretical pluralism (...) was a primary factor preventing him from recognizing Maxwell's work as an autonomous tradition. (shrink)
This is a dictionary of Descartes and Cartesian philosophy, primarily covering philosophy in the 17th century, with a chronology and biography of Descartes's life and times and a bibliography of primary and secondary works related to Descartes and to Cartesians.
Before publishing his landmark _Meditations_ in 1641, Rene Descartes sent his manuscript to many leading thinkers to solicit their objections to his arguments. He included these objections, along with his own detailed replies, as part of the first edition. This unusual strategy gave Descartes a chance to address criticisms in advance and to demonstrate his willingness to consider diverse viewpoints—critical in an age when radical ideas could result in condemnation by church and state, or even death. _Descartes and his Contemporaries_ (...) recreates the tumultuous intellectual community of seventeenth-century Europe and provides a detailed, modern analysis of the _Meditations_ in its historical context. The book's chapters examine the arguments and positions of each of the objectors—Hobbes, Gassendi, Arnauld, Morin, Caterus, Bourdin, and others whose views were compiled by Mersenne. They illuminate Descartes' relationships to the scholastics and particularly the Jesuits, to Mersenne's circle with its debates about the natural sciences, to the Epicurean movements of his day, and to the Augustinian tradition. Providing a glimpse of the interactions among leading 17th-century intellectuals as they grappled with major philosophical issues, this book sheds light on how Descartes' thought developed and was articulated in opposition to the ideas of his contemporaries. (shrink)
This volume presents new work in history and historiography to the increasingly broad audience for studies of the history and philosophy of science. These essays are linked by a concern to understand the context of early modern science in its own context.
It would seem that there are enormous differences between strict hylomorphism and Cartesianism on form and matter: for a strict hylomorphist, matter and form cannot be separated, but for a Cartesian, matter and form are really distinct ; for a strict hylomorphist, form is the principle of being and matter the principle of individuation, but for a Cartesian, the mind-a form-is the principle of individuation for persons, if anything is. However, these breaks are not as severe as might have been (...) thought, if seventeenth century scholastics are taken into account. For a variety of reasons, the late Aristotelians broke with Aristotle and accepted the reality of matter without form, form without matter, and form as the principle of individuation. In addition, the intellectual landscape of seventeenth century philosophy was not limited to the properly scholastic ; there were anti-Aristotelian options available before Descartes. Given that the gulf between the schoolmen and novatores like Descartes was not so great, the way was open for certain compromises. These were sought in a variety of scholastic restatements of Cartesianism from more or less Cartesian positions. Thus, it can be said that some varieties of Aristotelianism in the seventeenth century prepared the ground for the acceptance of Cartesianism and the eventual attempts at their reunification. (shrink)
I discuss some of Leibniz's pronouncements about fringe phenomena__various monsters; talking dogs; genies and prophets; unicorns, glossopetrae, and other games of nature__in order to understand better Leibniz's views on science and the role these curiosities play in his plans for scientific academies and societies. However, given that Leibniz's sincerity has been called into question in twentieth-century secondary literature, I begin with a few historiographical remarks so as to situate these pronouncements within the Leibnizian corpus. What emerges is an image of (...) Leibniz as a sober, cautious interpreter, a skeptic one might say, but one who is prepared to concede the possibility of many strange phenomena. Leibniz expects these fringe phenomena to take their place among the natural curiosities catalogued as part of a hoped for empirical database intended as means toward the perfection of the sciences. (shrink)
Before publishing his landmark Meditations in 1641, Rene Descartes sent his manuscript to many leading thinkers to solicit their objections to his arguments. He included these objections, along with his own detailed replies, as part of the first edition. This unusual strategy gave Descartes a chance to address criticisms in advance and to demonstrate his willingness to consider diverse viewpoints—critical in an age when radical ideas could result in condemnation by church and state, or even death. Descartes and his Contemporaries (...) recreates the tumultuous intellectual community of seventeenth-century Europe and provides a detailed, modern analysis of the Meditations in its historical context. The book's chapters examine the arguments and positions of each of the objectors—Hobbes, Gassendi, Arnauld, Morin, Caterus, Bourdin, and others whose views were compiled by Mersenne. They illuminate Descartes' relationships to the scholastics and particularly the Jesuits, to Mersenne's circle with its debates about the natural sciences, to the Epicurean movements of his day, and to the Augustinian tradition. Providing a glimpse of the interactions among leading 17th-century intellectuals as they grappled with major philosophical issues, this book sheds light on how Descartes' thought developed and was articulated in opposition to the ideas of his contemporaries. (shrink)
The A to Z of Descartes and Cartesian Philosophy includes a chronology, an introduction, a bibliography, and cross-reference dictionary entries Descartes's writings, concepts, and findings, as well as entries on those who supported him, those who criticized him, those who corrected him, and those who together formed one of the major movements in philosophy, Cartesianism.
These selections from _Le système du monde_, the classic ten-volume history of the physical sciences written by the great French physicist Pierre Duhem, focus on cosmology, Duhem's greatest interest. By reconsidering the work of such Arab and Christian scholars as Averroes, Avicenna, Gregory of Rimini, Albert of Saxony, Nicole Oresme, Duns Scotus, and William of Occam, Duhem demonstrated the sophistication of medieval science and cosmology.
This anthology offers the key works of Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz in their entirety or in substantial selections, along with a rich selection of associated texts by other leading thinkers of the period.
This anthology offers the key works of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume in their entirety or in substantial selections, along with a rich selection of associated texts by other leading thinkers of the period.