Descartes' System of Natural Philosophy

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Mar 18, 2002 - Philosophy - 258 pages
Towards the end of his life, Descartes published the first four parts of a projected six-part work, The Principles of Philosophy. This was intended to be the definitive statement of his complete system of philosophy, dealing with everything from cosmology to the nature of human happiness. Stephen Gaukroger examines the whole system, and reconstructs the last two parts, 'On Living Things' and 'On Man', from Descartes' other writings. He relates the work to the tradition of late Scholastic textbooks which it follows, and also to Descartes' other philosophical writings.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Before the Principia
5
Physicomathematics
6
The Regulae
7
Le Monde and LHomme
10
La Discours and Les Essais
24
Metaphysics and the legitimation of natural philosophy
28
La Recherche de la verite versus the Principia
30
The Principia and the Scholastic textbook tradition
32
Principia Part III The visible universe
135
Celestial motions
136
Planetary motion
142
Celestial matter and the transmission of light
146
Vortex theory
150
Comets planets and moons
153
Principia Part IV The Earth
161
The nature of the Earth
162

The problem of natural philosophy
35
Theology metaphysics and natural philosophy
43
the textbook tradition
48
Content and ordering
54
The structure of the Principia
58
Principia Part I The principles of knowledge
64
Doubt and knowledge
69
Essence and existence
73
Clarity and distinctness
79
The metaphysics of substnace
85
Principia Part II The principles of material objects
93
Material extension
97
The nature of motion
103
The first two laws of motion
114
The third law of motion
121
solids and fluids
130
The formation of the Earth
166
Air water earth and fire
169
Magnetism and related phenomena
173
Principia Part V Living things
180
Basic physiology
184
Developmental physiology
190
Animal psychophysiology
196
Affective states in animals
213
Principia Part VI Man
215
Cognition
216
The fragmentation of the soul
222
The philosopher as sage
236
The morality of philosophers
239
Bibliography
247
Index
255
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2002)

Educated at University of London (BA, 1974) and University of Cambridge (PhD, 1977). Currently Professor of History of Philosophy and History of Science, University of Sydney. Previous Books include: Explanatory Structures (1978), Descartes: Philosophy, Mathematics and Physics (1980), Cartesian Logic (1989), Descartes, An Intellectual Biography (1995), Descartes: The World and Other Writings (Cambridge University Press, 1998), The Soft Underbelly of Reason (1998), Descartes' System of Natural Philosophy (2000) and Francis Bacon and the Transformation of Early Modern Philosophy (2001).

Educated at University of London (BA, 1974) and University of Cambridge (PhD, 1977). Currently Professor of History of Philosophy and History of Science, University of Sydney. Previous Books include: Explanatory Structures (1978), Descartes: Philosophy, Mathematics and Physics (1980), Cartesian Logic (1989), Descartes, An Intellectual Biography (1995), Descartes: The World and Other Writings (Cambridge University Press, 1998), The Soft Underbelly of Reason (1998), Descartes' System of Natural Philosophy (2000) and Francis Bacon and the Transformation of Early Modern Philosophy (2001).

Bibliographic information