The Defence of Natural Philosophy 1640–1644

Stephen Gaukroger

in Descartes: An Intellectual Biography

Published in print May 1997 | ISBN: 9780198237242
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597480 | DOI:
The Defence of Natural Philosophy 1640–1644

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Discusses the Meditationes, its reception, and Descartes's response. In this work, Descartes avoided theological questions (except for the doctrine of transubstantiation). Describes the structure of the Principia, the culmination of his metaphysics dealing with the cogito, freedom of the will, divine predestination, inertial principles, the conservation of motion, dynamic relativism, and his theory of vortices, which he used to account for planetary orbits, weight or gravity, tides, and magnetism. Chronicles Descartes's religious controversy with Voetius and his dispute with Regius, whom he accused of plagiarizing his work.

Keywords: cogito; conservation of motion; divine predestination; freedom of the will; magnetism; Meditationes; Meditations; metaphysics; Principia; theory of vortices; transubstantiation

Chapter.  14275 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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