Descartes: An Intellectual Biography / Edition 1

Descartes: An Intellectual Biography / Edition 1

by Stephen Gaukroger
     
 

ISBN-10: 0198239947

ISBN-13: 9780198239949

Pub. Date: 05/25/1995

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Rene Descartes (1596-1650) is the father of modern philosophy, and one of the greatest of all thinkers. This is the first intellectual biography of Descartes in English; it offers a fundamental reassessment of all aspects of his life and work. Stephen Gaukroger, a leading authority on Descartes, traces his intellectual development from childhood, showing the…  See more details below

Overview

Rene Descartes (1596-1650) is the father of modern philosophy, and one of the greatest of all thinkers. This is the first intellectual biography of Descartes in English; it offers a fundamental reassessment of all aspects of his life and work. Stephen Gaukroger, a leading authority on Descartes, traces his intellectual development from childhood, showing the connections between his intellectual and personal life and placing these in the cultural context of seventeenth-century Europe. Descartes' early work in mathematics and science produced ground-breaking theories, methods, and tools still in use today. This book gives the first full account of how this work informed and influenced the later philosophical studies for which, above all, Descartes is renowned. Not only were philosophy and science intertwined in Descartes' life; so were philosophy and religion. The Church of Rome found Galileo guilty of heresy in 1633; two decades earlier, Copernicus' theories about the universe had been denounced as blasphemous. To avoid such accusations, Descartes clothed his views about the relation between God and humanity, and about the nature of the universe, in a philosophical garb acceptable to the Church. His most famous project was the exploration of the foundations of human knowledge, starting from the proof of one's own existence offered in the formula Cogito ergo sum, 'I am thinking therefore I exist'. Stephen Gaukroger argues that this was not intended as an exercise in philosophical scepticism, but rather to provide Descartes' scientific theories, influenced as they were by Copernicus and Galileo, with metaphysical legitimation. This book offers for the first time a full understanding of how Descartes developed his revolutionary ideas. It will be a landmark publication, welcomed by all readers interested in the origins of modern thought.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780198239949
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
05/25/1995
Pages:
520
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.35(d)

Table of Contents

Chronological Table
Introduction
1'A Learned and Eloquent Piety'
2An Education in Propriety, 1606-1618
3The Apprenticeship with Beeckman, 1618-1619
4The Search for Method, 1619-1625
5The Paris Years, 1625-1628
6A New Beginning, 1629-1630
7A New System of the World, 1630-1633
8The Years of Consolidation, 1634-1640
9The Defence of Natural Philosophy, 1640-1644
10Melancholia and the Passions, 1643-1650
Notes
Biographical Sketches
Select Bibliography
Index

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