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AuthorWatson, Richard A. author
TitleThe Downfall of Cartesianism 1673-1712 [electronic resource] : A Study of Epistemological Issues in Late 17th Century Cartesianism / by Richard A. Watson
ImprintDordrecht : Springer Netherlands, 1966
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Descript VIII, 158 p. online resource


Phenomenalism, idealism, spiritualism, and other contemporary philoยญ sophical movements originating in the reflective experience of the cogito witness to the immense influence of Descartes. However, Carteยญ sianism as a complete metaphysical system in the image of that of the master collapsed early in the 18th century. A small school of brilliant Cartesians, almost all expert in the new mechanistic science, flashed like meteors upon the intellectual world of late 17th century France to win well-deserved recognition for Cartesianism. They were accompanied by a scintillating comet, Ma1ebranche, the deviant Cartesian, now remembered as the orthodox Cartesians are not. However, all these bright lights faded upon the philosophical horizon, almost as soon as they appeared. The metaphysical dualism of Desยญ cartes was, as such, neither to be preserved nor reconstructed. There are many reasons why the Cartesian system did not survive the victory over Scholasticism which Descartes, Malebranche, and the others had won. Newtonian physics very soon replaced Cartesian physics. The practical interest and success of the new science which the Cartesians themselves had nurtured drew men down from the lofty realms of metaphysics. On the popular front, Cartesianism was attacked and ridiculed for the view that animals are unthinking machines. In the schools of Paris and elsewhere, there was the general but severe opposition of pedants, which is perhaps of more historical than philosophical interest


I. Introduction -- A Characterization of a Scholastic Explanation of Perception and Knowing -- The Development of the Distinction between Primary and Secondary Qualities before Descartes -- II. Simon Fougher -- Life and Works -- His Academic Scepticism and his Positive Position -- III. Late 17th Century Cartesian Metaphysics and Criticisms of it -- A Model Late 17th Century Cartesian Metaphysical System -- Foucherโ{128}{153}s Major Criticisms of Cartesian Metaphysics -- IV. The Controversy Concerning Ideas Between Malebranche and Foucher -- Foucherโ{128}{153}s Reading of the First Volume of the First Edition of Malebrancheโ{128}{153}s Recherche -- Foucherโ{128}{153}s Criticisms of the Malebranchian Way of Ideas -- Malebrancheโ{128}{153}s Response to Foucher and the Failure of the Malebranchian Way of Ideas -- V. The Orthodox (Non-Occasionalist) Cartesian Way of Ideas -- Robert Desgabets: The Orthodox Cartesian Suggestion of Non-resembling Representative Ideas -- Foucherโ{128}{153}s Reply to Desgabets -- Louis de La Forge: The Orthodox Cartesian Dependence upon God -- Jacque Rohault: The Denial of the Causal Likeness Principle -- Pierre-Sylvain Rรฉgis: The Dependence upon Inexplicable Causal Relations -- Antoine Le Grand: Ideas as Natureโ{128}{153}s Signs -- Antoine Arnauld: Representative Perceptions -- VI. An Analysis of the Cartesian Failures to Solve Problems Facing Cartesianism -- Ideas as Natural Signs -- The Mechanical Notion of Causation -- External Ideas -- Direct Acquaintance -- The Cartesian Dependence upon the Likeness Principles and the Ontology of Substance and Modification -- VII. Post-Cartesian Developments of the Way of Ideas -- Monistic Solutions to Cartesian Problems -- John Locke -- George Berkeley -- David Hume -- VIII. Leibniz and Foucher -- The Correspondence between Leibniz and Foucher Concerning First Principles, Certain Knowledge, and the External World -- Leibnizโ{128}{153}s New System and Foucherโ{128}{153}s Criticisms of It -- Leibnizโ{128}{153}s Notion of Matter -- Leibnizโ{128}{153}s Solutions to Cartesian Problems -- IX. Conclusion -- Appendix I A Table of the Principles of a Lateth Century Cartesian Metaphysical System -- Appendix II. A Schematic Outline of Foucherโ{128}{153}s Criticisms of Car- tesianism -- Index of Names

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