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A Companion to Descartes

Janet Broughton (Editor), John Carriero (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4443-3784-6
560 pages
November 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to Descartes (144433784X) cover image
A collection of more than 30 specially commissioned essays, this volume surveys the work of the 17th-century philosopher-scientist commonly regarded as the founder of modern philosophy, while integrating unique essays detailing the context and impact of his work.
  • Covers the full range of historical and philosophical perspectives on the work of Descartes
  • Discusses his seminal contributions to our understanding of skepticism, mind-body dualism, self-knowledge, innate ideas, substance, causality, God, and the nature of animals
  • Explores the philosophical significance of his contributions to mathematics and science
  • Concludes with a section on the impact of Descartes's work on subsequent philosophers
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Notes on Contributors x

List of Abbreviations xiv

Introduction xv

PART I THE INTELLECTUAL CONTEXT 1

1 Life and Works 3
STEPHEN GAUKROGER

2 Aristotelian Natural Philosophy: Body, Cause, Nature 17
DENNIS DES CHENE

3 Descartes and Augustine 33
CATHERINE WILSON

4 Descartes and the Legacy of Ancient Skepticism 52
CASEY PERIN

PART II MATHEMATICS AND NATURAL PHILOSOPHY 67

5 Descartes and Galileo: Copernicanism and the Metaphysical Foundations of Physics 69
MICHAEL FRIEDMAN

6 Explanation as Confi rmation in Descartes’s Natural Philosophy 84
ERNAN MCMULLIN

7 Descartes and Mathematics 103
PAOLO MANCOSU

8 Descartes’s Optics: Light, the Eye, and Visual Perception 124
MARGARET J. OSLER

PART III EPISTEMOLOGY AND METAPHYSICS 143

9 Descartes’s Method 145
MURRAY MILES

10 Descartes’s Use of Doubt 164
DAVID OWENS

11 Self-Knowledge 179
JANET BROUGHTON

12 Descartes on True and False Ideas 196
DEBORAH J. BROWN

13 Clear and Distinct Perception 216
SARAH PATTERSON

14 Causation Without Intelligibility and Causation Without God in Descartes 235
MICHAEL DELLA ROCCA

15 Descartes on Substance 251
VERE CHAPPELL

16 Descartes and the Metaphysics of Extension 271
C. G. NORMORE

17 The Role of God in Descartes’s Philosophy 288
JOHN COTTINGHAM

18 The Cartesian Circle and the Foundations of Knowledge 302
JOHN CARRIERO

19 Cartesian Innateness 319
ALAN NELSON

20 Descartes on the Will in Judgment 334
LEX NEWMAN

21 Omnipotence, Modality, and Conceivability 353
LILLI ALANEN

22 Descartes’s Dualism 372
MARLEEN ROZEMOND

23 The Union and Interaction of Mind and Body 390
PAUL HOFFMAN

24 Animals 404
GARY HATFIELD

25 How to Engineer a Human Being: Passions and Functional Explanation in Descartes 426
AMY M. SCHMITTER

26 Descartes’s Ethics 445
LISA SHAPIRO

PART IV DESCARTES’S LEGACY 465

27 Descartes’s Legacy in the Seventeenth Century: Problems and Polemic 467
THOMAS M. LENNON

28 Contemporary Reactions to Descartes’s Philosophy of Mind 482
QUASSIM CASSAM

29 Descartes and the Phenomenological Tradition 496
WAYNE M. MARTIN

30 Our Debt to Descartes 513
BARRY STROUD

Index 526

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Janet Broughton is Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Arts and Humanities at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Descartes’s Method of Doubt (2002).

John Carriero is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has published widely in early modern philosophy.

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  • A comprehensive guide to the life and work of René Descartes, the founder of modern philosophy
  • Contains more than 30 newly commissioned essays by many of the most prominent Descartes scholars working today
  • Covers the full range of historical and philosophical perspectives on his work
  • Discusses his seminal contributions to our understanding of skepticism, mind-body dualism, self-knowledge, innate ideas, substance, causality, God, and the nature of animals
  • Explores the philosophical significance of his contributions to mathematics and science
  • Concludes with a section on the impact of Descartes's work on subsequent philosophers
See More
"Good companions fulfil two more duties - they provide better ways of understanding the familiar and they also defamiliarise it by encouraging new slants and alerting us to relatively ignored issues: this companion does both.... A most attractive and wide-ranging addition to its field." (Reference Reviews, Issue 6 2008)
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