Chapter

A New Beginning 1629–1630

Stephen Gaukroger

in Descartes: An Intellectual Biography

Published in print May 1997 | ISBN: 9780198237242
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597480 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198237243.003.0007
A New Beginning 1629–1630

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Discusses possible reasons for Descartes's move to the Netherlands, and his avoidance of patronage there. Considers his work on optics (including the sine law of refraction and the grinding of hyperbolic lenses), music, and metaphysics (arguments for the existence of God, his transcendence, and the immortality of the soul). Also deals with Descartes's construction of an artificial, universal language, changes in his thinking about the doctrine of clarity and distinctness, his solution to the Pappus problem, his classification of curves, and his work on meteorology that he expanded into a project to explain the whole of physics. This work was considerably slowed down by his dispute with Beeckman over the authorship of ideas.

Keywords: Beeckman; clarity and distinctness; classification of curves; immortality of the soul; metaphysics; meteorology; music; optics; universal language

Chapter.  17303 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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