Article ID: CBB659205412

The Radical Cartesianism of Robert Desgabets and the Scholastic Heritage (2015)


Robert Desgabets (1610–1678) has been described as a ‘radical Cartesian’. Drawing conclusions from Descartes's thought that Descartes himself had failed to see, Desgabets treated Cartesianism as a work in progress that awaited further enrichment and development. But, as scholars have recognized, Desgabets's writings also betray a significant indebtedness to scholastic tradition. In presenting his philosophy, Desgabets often appeals to traditional notions, breathing new life into scholastic concepts and ideas. This paper investigates what we are to make of the scholastic vestiges in Desgabets's thought. It argues that Desgabets's relation to scholastic tradition is more complicated than Desgabets himself wants us to believe, or than his modern commentators have recognized. Scholastic echoes in Desgabets cannot be taken at face value. Sometimes, they reflect basic points of agreement with scholastic theories. But just as often, scholastic formulae in Desgabets are vehicles for expressing philosophical views that go way beyond anything to be found in his predecessors.

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Authors & Contributors
Schmaltz, Tad M.
Borghero, Carlo
Lewis, Eric P.
Cottingham, John
Glausner, Richard
Broughton, Janet
Perspectives on Science
Physis: Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza
Medicina Historica
Galilæana: Journal of Galilean Studies
Oxford University Press
Cambridge University Press
Blackwell Publishers
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Natural philosophy
Mechanism; mechanical philosophy
Descartes, René
Ariew, Roger
Desgabets, Robert
Régis, Pierre Sylvain
Arnauld, Antoine
Huet, Pierre Daniel
Time Periods
17th century
18th century

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