Descartes-Agonistes: Physico-mathematics, Method & Corpuscular-Mechanism 1618-33

Springer Science & Business Media, 23 Οκτ 2012 - 632 σελίδες
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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’.


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Chapter 1 Introduction Problems of Descartes and the Scientific Revolution
Chapter 2 Conceptual and Historiographical FoundationsNatural Philosophy Mixed Mathematics Physicomathematics Method
Chapter 3 Recalled to StudyDescartes PhysicoMathematicus
Chapter 4 Descartes Opticien The Optical Triumph of the 1620s
Chapter 5 Analytical Mathematics Universal Mathematics and Method Descartes Identity and Agenda Entering the 1620s
Chapter 6 Method and the Problem of the Historical Descartes
Chapter 7 Universal Mathematics Interruptus The Program of the Later Regulae and Its Collapse 16261628
Chapter 8 Reinventing the Identity and Agenda Descartes PhysicoMathematical Philosopher of Nature 16291633
Chapter 9 Reading Le Monde as Pedagogy and Fable
Chapter 10 Waterworld Descartes Vortical Celestial Mechanics and Cosmological Optics in Le Monde
Chapter 11 Le Monde as a System of Natural Philosophy and Gambit in the Field
Chapter 12 Cosmography Realist Copernicanism and Systematising Strategy in the Principia Philosophiae
Chapter 13 Conclusion The Young and the Mature Descartes Agonistes
Appendix 1 Descartes Mydorge and Beeckman The Evolution of Cartesian Lens Theory 16271637
Appendix 2 Decoding Descartes Vortex Celestial Mechanics in the Text of Le Monde
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JOHN SCHUSTER is a scout and development editor for the Literary Group International. He divides his time between New York and California.

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