Article

René Descartes

Justin Skirry

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online May 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0031
René Descartes

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There is no doubt that Descartes is one of the most influential and perhaps one of the most misunderstood philosophers of the modern era. In many ways, Descartes can be seen as kicking off the great era of philosophical system building at the beginning of the 17th century and continuing until David Hume destroyed these systems in one blow in the late 18th century. As the builder of a philosophical system, Descartes’s works cover just about everything under (and above) the sun, from metaphysics to physics to theology to cosmology to physiology, and, with each area intersecting with the others, raise their own set of problems and questions. An article of this sort cannot hope to cover such a range of intersecting issues that arise in Descartes’s system, since an issue in one aspect of the theory often ripples out to other, far-reaching, aspects. Accordingly, this article attempts to provide a mix of introductory essays and detailed analyses of the major issues in Descartes’s system so as to guide the reader toward a clear and even-handed understanding of this giant of Western thought.

Article.  12979 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

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