Cartesianism [addendum] - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Science and Theology

Descartes is perhaps best known in the early twenty-first century both for his epistemological "method of doubt" and for his metaphysical doctrine of mind-body dualism. However, he was known in the early modern period primarily for his attempt to systematically displace explanations of natural phenomena, deriving from the work of Aristotle, that were then predominant in both Catholic and Protestant schools on the Continent. In Principles of Philosophy (1644) Descartes proposed as an alternative for Aristotelian explanations in terms of prime matter, substantial forms, and final causality his own more austere explanations in terms of extension, its modifications, and purely mechanistic laws. There were other critics of the Aristotelianism of the schools, most notably Pierre Gassendi and the Gassendists. Nevertheless, Descartes's followers proved to be more adept than the Gassendists at packaging the new mechanistic science. Even so, it is understandable that Cartesian science is not...

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This section contains 1,289 words
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Buy the Cartesianism [addendum] Encyclopedia Article
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Cartesianism [addendum] from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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