Descartes and Pascal

Perspectives on Science 15 (4):397-409 (2007)
Roger Ariew
University of South Florida
There is a popular view that Descartes and Pascal were antagonists. I argue instead that Pascal was a Cartesian, in the manner of other Cartesians in the seventeenth century. That does not, of course, mean that Pascal accepted everything Descartes asserted, given that there were Cartesian atomists, for example, when Descartes was a plenist and anti-atomist. Pascal himself was a vacuuist and thus in opposition to Descartes in that respect, but he did accept some of the more distinctive and controversial aspects of Cartesianism, including his mechanistic philosophy and the consequent view that animals are automata
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DOI 10.1162/posc.2007.15.4.397
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