Seventeenth Century Rationalism: Bacon and Descartes

Review of Metaphysics 25 (1):145-145 (1971)

This volume is fifth in a series, Monuments of Western Thought. Most of the book consists of excerpts from the works of Bacon and Descartes The selections from Bacon are the preface and plan of The Great Instauration, parts of the New Organon, a bit of Advancement of Learning, and all of The New Atlantis. The selections from Descartes are a short passage from the Discourse on Method and all of the Meditations. The text is introduced by a historical sketch of the intellectual, social, and political context in which Bacon and Descartes lived, and by brief intellectual biographies. The volume closes with short critical selections, pointing up and commenting on important issues in the source material. On Bacon: A. N. Whitehead deals with Bacon's concept of matter, the justification of induction, and Bacon's emphasis on quality; C. D. Broad discusses Bacon's concept of "Form" and its relation to the principle of limited variety; R. F. Jones discusses the Idols, especially the Idol of the Market-place, and Bacon's stress on experimentation; B. Farrington interprets Bacon's rejection of scholasticism as part of the contemporary effort to return to the Hebrew origins of Christianity. On Descartes: A. Koyré deals with consequences of the Cartesian identification of matter with extension; S. V. Keeling discusses the importance of the cogito and interprets it as giving knowledge of the existence of a substantival self; A. B. Gibson interprets Cartesian personalism as the foundation of a realism; M. Versfeld interprets Cartesian personalism as an error making knowledge impossible. Each section is followed by a few questions designed to force the student to think about what he has read and to return to the text.--L. G.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632  
DOI revmetaph1971251191
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Seventeenth-Century Rationalism: Bacon & Descartes.Norman F. Cantor - 1969 - Waltham, Mass., Blaisdell Pub. Co..


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