Cartesian analysis and synthesis

This paper aims to provide an explication of the meaning of 'analysis' and 'synthesis' in Descartes' writings. In the first part I claim that Descartes' method is entirely captured by the term 'analysis', and that it is a method of theory elaboration that fuses the modern methods of discovery and confirmation in one enterprise. I discuss Descartes' methodological writings, assess their continuity and coherence, and I address the major shortcoming of previous interpretations of Cartesian methodology. I also discuss the Cartesian method in the context of other conceptions of scientific method of that era and argue that Descartes' method significantly transforms these conceptions. In the second part I argue that mathematical and natural-philosophical writings exhibit this kind of analysis. To that effect I examine in Descartes' writings on the method as used in mathematics, and Descartes' account of the discovery of the nature of the rainbow in the Meteors. Finally, I briefly assess Descartes' claim regarding the universality of his method.
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    References found in this work BETA
    Daniel Garber (1988). Descartes and Method in 1637. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:225 - 236.
    N. Jardine (1976). Galileo's Road to Truth and the Demonstrative Regress. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 7 (4):277-318.

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