Descartes: A Biography (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Mar 6, 2006 - Philosophy
1 Review
René Descartes is best remembered today for writing 'I think, therefore I am', but his main contribution to the history of ideas was his effort to construct a philosophy that would be sympathetic to the new sciences that emerged in the seventeenth century. To a great extent he was the midwife to the Scientific Revolution and a significant contributor to its key concepts. In four major publications, he fashioned a philosophical system that accommodated the needs of these new sciences and thereby earned the unrelenting hostility of both Catholic and Calvinist theologians, who relied on the scholastic philosophy that Descartes hoped to replace. His contemporaries claimed that his proofs of God's existence in the Meditations were so unsuccessful that he must have been a cryptic atheist and that his discussion of skepticism served merely to fan the flames of libertinism. This is the first biography in English that addresses the full range of Descartes' interest in theology, philosophy and the sciences and that traces his intellectual development through his entire career.
  

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Contents

8 The French Liars Monkey and the Utrecht Controversy
218
9 Descartes and Princess Elizabeth
248
10 The Principles of Philosophy 1644
276
11 The Quarrel and Final Rift with Regius
307
The Leiden Theologians 1647
337
13 Thoughts of Retirement
366
14 Death in Sweden
394
Descartes Principal Works
419

2 In Search of a Career 16161622
37
Paris 16221628
67
4 A Fabulous World 16291633
97
5 The Scientific Essaysand the Discourse on Method 16331637
126
6 Retreat and Defence 16371639
156
7 Metaphysics in a Hornets Nest 16391642
184
Places Where Descartes Lived
421
Notes
425
Bibliography
489
Index
503
Copyright

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Page ix - A late Discourse made in a Solemne Assembly of Nobles and Learned Men at Montpellier in France, touching the Cure of Wounds by the Powder of Sympathy ; With instructions how to make the said Powder ; whereby many other Secrets of Nature are unfolded.

About the author (2006)

Desmond Clarke is Professor of Philosophy at University College Cork. He received a DLitt from the National University of Ireland, was Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, and has been elected to the Royal Irish Academy. He is the author of a number of books on Descartes and the seventeenth century, most recently Descartes' Theory of Mind (2005).

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