René Descartes

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Last Updated on June 8, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 639

Cottingham, John. "Cartesian Dualism: Theology, Metaphysics, and Science." In Reason, Will, and Sensation: Studies in Descartes' Metaphysics, edited by John Cottingham, pp. 236–57. Oxford: Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1994.

Explores Descartes' three approaches to the mind-body distinction—theological, metaphysical, and scientific—and the relations among the different arguments.

Funkenstein, Amos. "Descartes and More." In his Theology and the Scientific Imagination, from the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century, pp. 72–80. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986.

Discusses some of the problems with Descartes' blending of mathematics, physics, and theology, and the relationship between the philosophies of Descartes and Henry More.

Garber, Daniel. "Descartes' Project." In his Descartes' Metaphysical Physics, pp. 30–62. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Explores the structure of Descartes's scientific program and his emphasis on the interconnectedness of the different branches of knowledge.

Gaukroger, Stephen. "The Sources of Descartes' Procedure of Deductive Demonstration in Metaphysics and Natural Philosophy." In Reason, Will, and Sensation: Studies in Descartes's Metaphysics, edited by John Cottingham, pp. 47–60. Oxford: Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1994.

Explores Descartes' philosophical method, claiming that it is neither a synthetic nor analytic discovery of truths, but a presentation of accepted truths by "restructur[ing] already developed material in such a way as to draw from it conclusions which may be obscured."

Hacking, Ian. "Proof and Eternal Truths: Descartes and Leibniz." In Descartes: Philosophy, Mathematics and Physics, edited by Stephen Gaukroger, pp. 169–80. Sussex: The Harvester Press, 1980.

Compares Leibniz's more modern opinion that proof is integral to truth to Descartes' disregard of proof as a truth-condition.

Hatfield, Gary. "Reason, Nature, and God in Descartes." In Essays on the Philosophy and Science of René Descartes, edited by Stephen Voss, pp. 259–87. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Considers Descartes' approach to metaphysics to be redefining "the pure intellect as an instrument of cognition" in order to separate science from (Aristotelian) theology, and compares Descartes to such figures as Francisco Suarez.

Hoffman, Paul. "Cartesian Passions and Cartesian Dualism." Pacific Philosophical Quarterly LXXI, No. 4 (December 1990): 310–33.

Considers Passions of the Soul to counteract what most commentators consider to be a strict separation of the mental and the physical in Descartes' writings.

Loeb, Louis E. "The Cartesian Circle." In Reason, Will, and Sensation: Studies in Descartes's Metaphysics, edited by John Cottingham, pp. 200–35. Oxford: Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1994.

Examines different interpretations of the Cartesian circle, arguing in favor of the "psychological interpretation," that indubitable truths are those that are psychologically impossible to doubt.

Popkin, Richard H. "Descartes—Conqueror of Scepticism." In his The History of Scepticism from Erasmus to Descartes, pp. 175–96. New York: Humanities Press, 1964.

Positions Descartes with regard to his pyrrhonian contemporaries, concluding that he failed to counter their skeptical objections.

Rogers, G. A. J. "Descartes and the Method of English Science." Annals of Science XXIX, No. 3 (October 1972): 237–55.

Examines the influence of the Cartesian method on English scientists of the seventeenth century, especially Robert Boyle.

Schuster, John A. "Whatever Should We Do with Cartesian Method?—Reclaiming Descartes for the His-tory of Science." In Essays on the Philosophy and Science of René Descartes, edited by Stephen Voss, pp. 195–223. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Examines the historical significance of Descartes' philosophy of science, rejecting the tendency of modern scholarship to overemphasize his doctrine of method.

Sorell, Tom. "Descartes's Modernity." In Reason, Will, and Sensation: Studies in Descartes's Metaphysics, edited by John Cottingham, pp. 29–45. Oxford: Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1994.

Defends the notion that Descartes is the father of modern philosophy.

Stout, A. K. "The Basis of Knowledge in Descartes." In Descartes: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Willis Doney, pp. 169–91. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1967.

Examines the relationship among the three main grounds of certainty for Descartes: the cogito, "clear and distinct" perceptions, and the existence of God.


Additional coverage of Descartes' life and career is contained in the following sources published by Gale Reasearch: Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800, Vol. 20.

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