Descartes and the First Cartesians adopts the perspective that we should not approach René Descartes as a solitary thinker, but as a philosopher who constructs a dialogue with his contemporaries, so as to engage them and elements of his society into his philosophical enterprise. Roger Ariew argues that an important aspect of this engagement concerns the endeavor to establish Cartesian philosophy in the Schools, that is, to replace Aristotle as theauthority there. Descartes wrote the Principles of Philosophy as something of a rival to Scholastic textbooks, initially conceiving the project as a comparison of his philosophy and that of the Scholastics. Still, what Descartes produced was inadequate for the task. The topics of Scholastic textbooks ranged morebroadly than those of Descartes; they usually had quadripartite arrangements mirroring the structure of the collegiate curriculum, divided as they typically were into logic, ethics, physics, and metaphysics. But Descartes produced at best only what could be called a general metaphysics and a partial physics. These deficiencies in the Cartesian program and in its aspiration to replace Scholastic philosophy in the schools caused the Cartesians to rush in to fill the voids. The attempt to publisha Cartesian textbook that would mirror what was taught in the schools began in the 1650s with Jacques Du Roure and culminated in the 1690s with Pierre-Sylvain Régis and Antoine Le Grand. Ariew's original account thus considers the reception of Descartes' work, and establishes the significance of hisphilosophical enterprise in relation to the textbooks of the first Cartesians and in contrast with late Scholastic textbooks.
OUP Oxford; November 2014
- ISBN: 9780191036040
- Read online, or download in secure PDF format
- Title: Descartes and the First Cartesians
- Author: Roger Ariew
Imprint: OUP Oxford
In The Press
It is an impressive feat of scholarship and required reading for anyone interested in the role that educational institutions played in the transition from late Scholastic to early modern philosophy.
About The Author
Roger Ariew joined the Philosophy Department at the University of South Florida in 2004 after a postdoctoral position at the University of Chicago, and many years at Virginia Tech. His principal interests concern the relations between philosophy, science, and society in the early modern period. He is the author of Descartes and the Last Scholastics (Cornell University Press, 1999), with a second, revised and expanded edition published as Descartes amongthe Scholastics (2011), co-author of The A to Z of Descartes and Cartesian Philosophy (Scarecrow Press, 2010), and editor and translator of such works as Descartes, Philosophical Essays and Correspondence (Hackett, 2000). He has been awarded multiple fellowships and research grants by the National Endowment forthe Humanities and the National Science Foundation. He is currently working on a complete historical-critical edition and English translation of Descartes' correspondence, with Theo Verbeek and Erik-Jan Bos.