Philosophy, Early Modern Intellectual History, and the History of Philosophy

Metaphilosophy 43 (1-2):82-95 (2012)
Abstract
Historians of philosophy are increasingly likely to emphasize the extent to which their work offers a pay-off for philosophers of un-historical or anti-historical inclinations; but this defence is less familiar, and often seems less than self-evident, to intellectual historians. This article examines this tendency, arguing that such arguments for the instrumental value of historical scholarship in philosophy are often more problematic than they at first appear. Using the relatively familiar case study of René Descartes' reading of his scholastic and Aristotelian contemporaries, the article attempts to problematize this notion of pay-off from an historian's perspective
Keywords intellectual history  René Descartes  history of philosophy  context  scholasticism
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