Descartes and His Contemporaries

Meditations, Objections, and Replies

Edited by Roger Ariew and Marjorie Grene

Descartes and His Contemporaries
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Edited by Roger Ariew and Marjorie Grene

270 pages | 2 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 1995
Paper $32.00 ISBN: 9780226026305 Published October 1995
Before publishing his landmark Meditations in 1641, Rene Descartes sent his manuscript to many leading thinkers to solicit their objections to his arguments. He included these objections, along with his own detailed replies, as part of the first edition. This unusual strategy gave Descartes a chance to address criticisms in advance and to demonstrate his willingness to consider diverse viewpoints—critical in an age when radical ideas could result in condemnation by church and state, or even death.

Descartes and his Contemporaries recreates the tumultuous intellectual community of seventeenth-century Europe and provides a detailed, modern analysis of the Meditations in its historical context. The book's chapters examine the arguments and positions of each of the objectors—Hobbes, Gassendi, Arnauld, Morin, Caterus, Bourdin, and others whose views were compiled by Mersenne. They illuminate Descartes' relationships to the scholastics and particularly the Jesuits, to Mersenne's circle with its debates about the natural sciences, to the Epicurean movements of his day, and to the Augustinian tradition. Providing a glimpse of the interactions among leading 17th-century intellectuals as they grappled with major philosophical issues, this book sheds light on how Descartes' thought developed and was articulated in opposition to the ideas of his contemporaries.
Contents
List of Abbreviations
Prologue
Marjorie Grene, Roger Ariew.
1: The Place of the Objections in the Development of Cartesian Metaphysics
Jean-Luc Marion
2: The First Objections
Theo Verbeek
3: Caterus' Objections to God
Jean-Robert Armogathe
4: Mersenne's Suggestion: Cartesian Meditation and the Mathematical Model
of Knowledge in the Seventeenth Century
Peter Dear
5: J.-B. Morin and the Second Objections
Daniel Garber
6: Hobbes's Objections and Hobbes's System
Tom Sorell
7: Hobbes versus Descartes
Edwin Curley
8: Arnauld: From Ockhamism to Cartesianism
Vincent Carraud
9: Occasionalism and the Question of Arnauld's Cartesianism
Steven Nadler
10: Divine Will and Mathematical Truth: Gassendi and Descartes on the
Status of the Eternal Truths
Margaret J. Osler
11: Pandora; or, Essence and Reference: Gassendi's Nominalist Objection and
Descartes' Realist Reply
Thomas M. Lennon
12: The Greatest Stumbling Block: Descartes' Denial of Real Qualities
Stephen Menn
13: Pierre Bourdin and the Seventh Objections
Roger Ariew
Epilogue
Marjorie Grene
Bibliography
Contributors
Index
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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