Studies in History and Philosophy of Science

Descartes-Agonistes

Physico-mathematics, Method & Corpuscular-Mechanism 1618-33

Authors: Schuster, John

  • 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
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eBook $219.00
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  • ISBN 978-94-007-4746-3
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Hardcover $279.00
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Softcover $279.00
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About this book

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’.

Reviews

“In Descartes-Agonistes: Physico-mathematics, Method, and Corpuscular-Mechanism, 1618–33, John Schuster propounds an exact genesis for Descartes’s scientific work. … Schuster also offers plenty of details and information on the genesis of Descartes’s law of refraction and describes it in its historical context. … I would strongly recommend … . offer much food for thought and, once again, testify to the richness of Descartes’s works and thought.” (Michel Blay, Isis, Vol. 107 (1), March, 2016)

“The book is a grand success: it is meticulously argued, elaborated at great depth, and provides the most developed reconstruction of Descartes’ natural philosophy thus far. … Descartes-agonistes is essential reading for Descartes historians of science and metaphysics alike.” (Emily Thomas, Annals of Science, Vol. 73 (1), 2016)

“This book helps us to deepen and change our view of Descartes’ trajectory and, in sum, to better understand the significance of Descartes’ work in the seventeenth century. At the same time, Schuster provides historians with a different and fascinating approach to the trajectory of ideas and aims of this author belonging to the Scientific Revolution.” (Maria Rosa Massa Esteve, zbMATH, Vol. 1279, 2014)


Table of contents (13 chapters)

  • Introduction: Problems of Descartes and the Scientific Revolution

    Schuster, John

    Pages 1-29

  • Conceptual and Historiographical Foundations—Natural Philosophy, Mixed Mathematics, Physico-mathematics, Method

    Schuster, John

    Pages 31-98

  • ‘Recalled to Study’—Descartes, Physico-Mathematicus

    Schuster, John

    Pages 99-166

  • Descartes Opticien: The Optical Triumph of the 1620s

    Schuster, John

    Pages 167-223

  • Analytical Mathematics, Universal Mathematics and Method: Descartes’ Identity and Agenda Entering the 1620s

    Schuster, John

    Pages 225-264

Buy this book

eBook $219.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-94-007-4746-3
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $279.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-94-007-4745-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $279.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-94-017-8446-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Descartes-Agonistes
Book Subtitle
Physico-mathematics, Method & Corpuscular-Mechanism 1618-33
Authors
Series Title
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Series Volume
27
Copyright
2013
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
eBook ISBN
978-94-007-4746-3
DOI
10.1007/978-94-007-4746-3
Hardcover ISBN
978-94-007-4745-6
Softcover ISBN
978-94-017-8446-7
Series ISSN
0929-6425
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XX, 632
Topics