David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 34 (2):265-308 (2003)
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
John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff & Dugald Murdoch (eds.) (1629). The Philosophical Writings of Descartes. Cambridge University Press.
Daniel Garber (1988). Descartes and Method in 1637. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:225 - 236.
Daniel Garber & Lesley Cohen (1982). A Point of Order: Analysis, Synthesis, and Descartes's Principles. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 64 (2):136-147.
Stephen Gaukroger (2000). The Nature of Abstract Reasoning: Philosophical Aspects of Descartes' Work in Algebra. Filozofski Vestnik 21 (1):157-176.
Alan Gewirtz & The Editors (1941). Experience and the Non-Mathematical in the Cartesian Method. Journal of the History of Ideas 2 (2):183.
Citations of this work BETA
Luciano Floridi (2011). A Defence of Constructionism: Philosophy as Conceptual Engineering. Metaphilosophy 42 (3):282-304.
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