Athanassios Raftopoulos
University of Cyprus
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.Author Keywords: Cartesian method; Theory elaboration; Analysis; Synthesis; Simple natures; Rainbow.
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DOI 10.1016/s0039-3681(03)00026-8
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References found in this work BETA

Galileo's Road to Truth and the Demonstrative Regress.N. Jardine - 1976 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 7 (4):277.
Reason, Method, and Science in the Philosophy of Descartes.Peter A. Schouls - 1972 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 50 (1):30 – 39.
A Point of Order: Analysis, Synthesis, and Descartes's Principles.Daniel Garber & Lesley Cohen - 1982 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 64 (2):136-147.

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