Descartes among the Scholastics takes the position that philosophical systems cannot be studied adequately apart from their intellectual context: philosophers accept, modify, or reject doctrines whose meaning and significance are given in a particular culture. Thus, the volume treats Cartesian philosophy as a reaction against, as well as an indebtedness to, scholastic philosophy and touches on many topics shared by Cartesian and late scholastic philosophy: matter and form, causation, infinity, place, time, void, and motion; the substance of the heavens; principles of metaphysics (such as unity, principle of individuation, truth and falsity). One moves from within Cartesian philosophy and its intellectual context in the seventeenth century, to living philosophical debate between Descartes and his contemporaries, to its first reception.

Scientific and Learned Cultures and Their Institutions, 1


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Biographical Note

Roger Ariew, Ph.D. (1976) in Philosophy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of South Florida. He has published extensively on the relations between philosophy, science, and society in the early modern period.

Review Quotes

“The book is clearly and engagingly written and a pleasure to read. One cannot but admire the wonderful breadth of scholarship on display. This book is a rich resource for anyone interested in learning about Descartes’s historical context.”
Marleen Rozemond in: HOPOS: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Spring 2013), pp. 186-190

"Its generous bibliography, its faithful historical reconstructions recommend the book as a guide, tempting us to begin and continue the exploration of Descartes within his scholastic context."
Mihai-Dragos Vadana, Society and Politics, Vol. 6, No. 2 (12)/November 2012

Table of contents

List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations

1. Descartes and the Last Scholastics: Objections and Replies
2. Descartes and the Scotists
3. Ideas, before and after Descartes
4. The Cartesian Destiny of Form and Matter
5. Descartes, Basso, and Toletus: Three Kinds of Corpuscularians
6. Scholastics and the New Astronomy on the Substance of the Heavens
7. Descartes and the Jesuits of La Flèche: the Eucharist
8. Condemnations of Cartesianism: the Extension and Unity of the Universe
9. Cartesians, Gassendists, and Censorship
10. The Cogito in the Seventeenth Century



All those interested in intellectual history, the history of science, the history of philosophy, early modern philosophy and science, scholasticism, Descartes, and Cartesians.


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