Descartes: A Biography [Book Review]

Richard A. Watson - Descartes: A Biography - Journal of the History of Philosophy 45:1 Journal of the History of Philosophy 45.1 159-161 Muse Search Journals This Journal Contents Reviewed by Richard Watson Washington University Desmond M. Clarke. Descartes: A Biography. New York-Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Pp. xi + 507. $40.00. This is an excellent critical and contextual presentation of the development of Descartes's thought in its historical context. No recent biographer has done as well in providing names, dates, and outlines of the ideas and positions of thinkers contemporary with Descartes who influenced, criticized, and annoyed him. The persona that emerges from this study is that of an irascible, belligerent egotist of colossal proportions: a man who never admitted a mistake, who sometimes was almost clinically paranoid, who picked fights well beyond reasonable cause and need, who trashed two of the intellectual giants of his day, who tried to take credit for the conception of Pascal's experiment concerning the weight of the atmosphere (in fact, lots of people...
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DOI 10.1353/hph.2007.0023
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