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Most extensive conceptual and technical dissection ever undertaken of Descartes' first system of natural philosophy
Detailed analysis of Descartes' technical projects and agendas Contains key aspects of the early career of Descartes from 1618-33
This book reconstructs key aspects of the early career of Descartes from 1618 to 1633; that is, up through the point of his composing his first system of natural philosophy, Le Monde, in 1629-33. It focuses upon the overlapping and intertwined development of Descartes’ projects in physico-mathematics, analytical mathematics, universal method, and, finally, systematic corpuscular-mechanical natural philosophy. The concern is not simply with the conceptual and technical aspects of these projects; but, with Descartes’ agendas within them and his construction and presentation of his intellectual identity in relation to them.
Descartes’ technical projects, agendas and senses of identity shifted over time, entangled and displayed great successes and deep failures, as he morphed from a mathematically competent, Jesuit trained graduate in neo-Scholastic Aristotelianism to aspiring prophet of a systematised corpuscular-mechanism, passing through stages of being a committed physico-mathematicus, advocate of a putative ‘universal mathematics’, and projector of a grand methodological dream. In all three dimensions—projects, agendas and identity concerns—the young Descartes struggled and contended, with himself and with real or virtual peers and competitors, hence the title ‘Descartes-Agonistes’.
Content Level »Research
Keywords »Descartes Agonistes - John Schuster - Le Monde 1629-33 - Physico-mathematics - historiographical foundations - history of nature - history of philosophy - history of science - intellectual history - natural philosophy - sociology of scientific knowledge
Introduction: Problems of Descartes and the Scientific Revolution .- Conceptual and Historiographical Foundations.- Recalled to Study: Descartes Physico-Mathematicus Descartes Opticien: The Optical Triumph of the 1620s .- nalytical Mathematics, Universal Mathematics and Method: Descartes’ Identity and Agenda Entering the 1620s.- Method and the Problem of the Historical Descartes.- Universal Mathematics Interruptus: The Program of the later Regulae and its Collapse 1626-28.- Reinventing the Agenda and Identity: Descartes, Physico–mathematical Philosopher of Nature 1629–33.- Reading Le Monde as Pedagogy and Fable .- Waterworld: Descartes’ Vortical Celestial Mechanics and Cosmological Optics in Le Monde. - Le Monde as a System of Natural Philosophy.- Cosmography, Realist Copernicanism and Systematising Strategy in the Principia Philosophiae.- Conclusion: The Young and the Mature Descartes Agonistes.- Appendix 1 Descartes, Mydorge and Beeckman: The Evolution of Cartesian Lens Theory 1627-1637.- Appendix 2 Decoding Descartes’ Vortex Celestial Mechanics in the Text of Le Monde.