Descartes: A Biography

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März 2006



Descartes main contribution to the history of ideas was his effort to construct a philosophy that would be sympathetic to the new sciences that emerged in the seventeenth century. To a great extent he was the midwife to the Scientific Revolution and a significant contributor to its key concepts. This is the first biography in English to address the full range of Descartes interest in theology, philosophy, and the sciences, tracing his intellectual development throughout his entire career.


1. A lawyer's education; 2. In search of a career (1612-22); 3. Magic and mechanism: Paris (1622-8); 4. A fabulous world (1629-33); 5. The scientific essays and the Discourse on Method (1633-7); 6. Retreat and defence (1637-9); 7. Metaphysics in a hornet's nest (1639-42); 8. The French liar's monkey and the Utrecht crisis; 9. Descartes and Princess Elizabeth; 10. The Principles of Philosophy (1644); 11. The quarrel and final rift with Regius; 12. Once more into battle: the Leiden theologians (1647); 13. Thoughts of retirement; 14. Death in Sweden; Appendix 1. Descartes' principal works; Appendix 2. Places where Descartes lived; Bibliography.


Desmond Clarke is Professor of Philosophy at University College Cork. He received a DLitt from the National University of Ireland, was Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, and has been elected to the Royal Irish Academy. He is the author of a number of books on Descartes and the seventeenth century, most recently Descartes' Theory of Mind (2005).


Review of the hardback: 'Desmond Clarke ... does a very good job of tracing the details of Descartes's life - the many comings and goings, the exchanges with other thinkers. Clarke takes the often fragmentary testimony that we have from the letters, the accounts found in earlier biographies and the newly discovered facts, and works them into a convincing narrative ... the reader will be able to learn where its subject was then and what he was thinking about ... Clarke also supplements this factual information with summaries and interpretations of key questions in Descartes's thought ... such commentaries are essential in the biography of a figure important primarily for what he thought ... This book will be of great use to the scholar in the history of philosophy or the history of science who needs to know the complex details of Descartes's life ...' Times Literary Supplement
EAN: 9780521823012
ISBN: 0521823013
Untertitel: Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: März 2006
Seitenanzahl: 507 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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