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철학 - 지혜의 탐구

Cartesianism& Descartes

데카르트주의와 데카르트


1 Introduction

René Descartes (Latin: Renatus Cartesius) is known as the father of modern philosophy. A 17th-century French mathematician, scientist, and philosopher, he was one of the first to oppose scholastic Aristotelianism. He began by methodically doubting knowledge based on authority, the senses, and reason, then found certainty in the intuition that, when he is thinking, he exists; this he expressed in the famous statement "I think, therefore I am." He developed a dualistic system in which he distinguished radically between mind, the essence of which is thinking, and matter, the essence of which is extension in three dimensions. Descartes's metaphysical system is intuitionist, derived by reason from innate ideas, but his physics and physiology, based on sensory knowledge, are mechanistic and empiricist. (see also  Cartesianism)




2.1 Family and regional background.

Descartes was born in La Haye (now Descartes), Fr., on March 31, 1596. Although La Haye is in Touraine, Descartes's family connections were south across the Creuse River in Poitou, where his father, Joachim, owned farms and houses in Châtellerault and Poitiers. Because Joachim was a councillor in the Parlement of Brittany in Rennes, Descartes inherited a low rank of nobility. Descartes's mother died when he was one year old. His father remarried in Rennes, leaving him in La Haye to be raised by his maternal grandmother and a nurse and probably also by his great-uncle Michel Ferrand, lieutenant general (court judge) in Châtellerault. The Descartes family was Roman Catholic, but Poitou was a Huguenot stronghold and Châtellerault a "secure city," in which the Edict of Nantes, which gave Protestants freedom of worship in France, was worked out in 1597-98. Descartes returned to Poitou regularly until 1628.


2.2 Education, travels, and early influences.

In 1606 Descartes was sent to the Jesuit college at La Flèche, established in 1604 by Henry IV. At La Flèche 1,200 young gentlemen were trained for careers in military engineering, the judiciary, and government administration. Besides classical studies, science, mathematics, and metaphysics, students were taught acting, music, poetry, dancing, riding, and fencing. Descartes's philosophy professor was Father François Véron, known later as the scourge of the Protestants. Aristotle was taught from scholastic texts. In addition, Descartes received special attention from a relative, Father Charlet, later rector of La Flèche. In 1610 Descartes participated in an imposing ceremony in which Henry IV's heart was placed in the cathedral of La Flèche. Henry IV's assassination had destroyed the hope of religious tolerance in France and Germany.

In 1614 Descartes went to Poitiers, where he took a law degree in 1616. At this time Huguenot Poitiers was in virtual revolt against Louis XIII. Descartes's father probably expected him to enter Parlement, but, because the legal age for that was 27, Descartes had seven years to wait. In 1618 he went to Breda in the Netherlands for 15 months as a student in mathematics and military architecture in the peacetime army of the Protestant ruler, Maurice, prince of Orange. There Descartes met the physicist Isaac Beeckman, who encouraged him in science and mathematics and for whom Descartes wrote his Musicae Compendium (written 1618, published 1650; Compendium of Music).

During the period 1619 to 1628, Descartes traveled in northern and southern Europe, saying that he was studying the book of the world. While in Bohemia in 1619, he had three dreams that defined for him his career as a scientist and a philosopher seeking knowledge for the benefit of humanity. By 1620 he had conceived of a universal method of deductive reasoning, applicable to all the sciences. He had also investigated reports of esoteric knowledge such as theosophical claims to command nature. Although disappointed with the followers of the magician Raymond Lulle and the alchemist Cornelius Agrippa, Descartes was impressed by the German mathematician and Rosicrucian Johann Faulhaber.

Descartes shared a number of Rosicrucian goals and habits of life. Like Rosicrucians, he lived a single, secluded life, changing residence often (during his 22 years in the Netherlands, he lived in 18 different places), practiced medicine without charge, tried to increase human longevity, and expressed optimism about the ability of science to improve the human condition. At the end of his life, he left a chest of personal papers--none of which has survived--with his close friend, the Rosicrucian physician Corneille van Hogelande, who handled his affairs in the Netherlands. Descartes, however, rejected the Rosicrucians' magical and mystical beliefs. For him it was a time of hope for revolution in science. The English philosopher Francis Bacon, in Advancement of Learning (1605), had already proposed a new science of observation and experiment to replace the traditional Aristotelian science, as did Descartes later.

In 1620 Descartes was in the Roman Catholic army of Maximilian I, duke of Bavaria, who defeated the Protestants in Bohemia. There is, however, no evidence that Descartes ever participated in any battles; he said military life was idle, stupid, immoral, and cruel. In 1622 Descartes moved to Paris. There he gambled, rode, fenced, and went to the court, concerts, and the theatre. Among his friends were the poets Jean-Louis Guez de Balzac, who dedicated his Le Socrate chrétien (1652; "Christian Socrates") to Descartes, and Théophile de Viau, who was burned in effigy and imprisoned in 1623 for writing verses mocking religious themes. Descartes also made friends with the mathematician Claude Mydorge and with Father Marin Mersenne, a man of universal learning who during his lifetime wrote thousands of letters to hundreds of scholars, writers, mathematicians, and scientists, keeping everyone aware--despite his almost unreadable handwriting--of what everyone else was doing. Mersenne was Descartes's main contact with the larger intellectual world. Descartes regularly hid from his friends in order to work, writing treatises, now lost, on fencing and metals. He acquired a high reputation long before he published anything.

At a talk in 1628, Descartes denied the alchemist Chandoux's claim that probabilities are as good as certainties in science and demonstrated his own method for attaining certainty. The Cardinal de Bérulle, who had founded the Oratorian teaching order in 1611 to rival the Jesuit order and who was forming the Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement ("Company of the Sacred Sacrament"), a militant, secret society of laymen to fight Protestantism, was impressed and invited Descartes to a conference. Bérulle was a strange combination of astute politician, courtier, and mystic who often advised the Queen Mother and talked familiarly with God and angels every day. Many commentators speculate that Bérulle urged Descartes to write an Augustinian metaphysics to replace Jesuit teaching. There can be no question that, in one way or another, Bérulle tried to recruit Descartes to the Catholic cause. The result, however, was that within weeks Descartes left for the Netherlands, which was Protestant, took great precautions to conceal his whereabouts, and did not return to France for 16 years. Rather than taking Bérulle as director of his conscience, as some argue, it is probable that Descartes--who was a Roman Catholic but not an enthusiast, who was accused of being a Rosicrucian, who was from a Huguenot province, who glorified reason, and who advocated religious tolerance--was frightened by the mystical, militant Bérulle.

Descartes said that he went to the Netherlands to enjoy a greater liberty than was available anyplace else and to avoid the distractions of Paris and friends so that he could have the leisure and solitude to think. (He had inherited enough money and property to live independently.) The Netherlands was a haven of tolerance. Descartes could be an original, independent thinker there without fear, for example, of being burned for giving natural explanations of miracles, as was Lucilio Vanini in 1619, or of being drafted as a soldier for the Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation. He opposed vows that restricted liberty and said, when accused of having illegitimate children, that, after all, he was a man and had taken no vows of chastity. In France, by contrast, religious intolerance was mounting. The Jews were expelled in 1615, and the last Protestant stronghold, La Rochelle, was crushed--with Bérulle's participation--only weeks before Descartes's departure. Catholic commentators insist that Descartes would have been safe in France, but the Parlement of Paris passed a decree in 1624 forbidding attacks on Aristotle on pain of death. Although the Catholic priests Mersenne and Pierre Gassendi did publish attacks without being persecuted, heretics continued to be burned, and laymen lacked church protection. Descartes may have felt in some jeopardy because of his friendship with such libertines as Father Claude Picot, a bon vivant known as "the Atheist Priest," with whom Descartes left his financial affairs in France.


2.3 Residence in the Netherlands.

In 1629 Descartes went to the university at Franeker, where he stayed with a Roman Catholic family and wrote the first draft of his Meditations. He registered at the University of Leiden in 1630, where he gained as a disciple the physician Henri Reneri. In 1631 he visited Denmark and in 1633-34 was in Germany with the physician and alchemist Étienne de Villebressieu, who invented siege engines, a portable bridge, and a two-wheeled stretcher. The physician Henri Regius taught Descartes's views at the University of Utrecht in 1639, starting a fierce controversy with the Calvinist theologian Gisbertus Voetius that continued until the end of Descartes's life. In his Letter to Voetius of 1648, Descartes made a plea for religious tolerance and the rights of man. He said that he wrote not only for Christians but also for Turks--meaning libertines, infidels, deists, and atheists. He argued that, because Protestants and Roman Catholics worship the same God, both can hope for heaven. When the controversy became intense, however, Descartes sought the protection of the French ambassador and of his friend Constantijn Huygens, secretary to Prince Frederick Henry, ruler of the Dutch Republic.

In 1635 Descartes's daughter Francine was born to Helena Jans and was baptized in the Reformed Church in Deventer. Although Francine is referred to as Descartes's illegitimate daughter, her baptism is recorded in a register for legitimate births. Descartes said that his greatest sorrow was Francine's death of scarlet fever at the age of five and that he was not a philosopher who believed that one must refrain from tears to prove oneself a man.


2.4 The World, Rules, and Discourse on Method.

In 1633 Descartes was about to publish Le Monde (published 1664; The World), when he heard that the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei had been condemned in Rome for publishing the view that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Because this Copernican position is central to Descartes's cosmology and physics, he suppressed The World, hoping that the church would retract its condemnation and make it possible for him to publish his work later. He feared the church, but he also hoped that his physics would one day replace Aristotle's in church doctrine. (see also  Copernican system)

In 1637 Descartes published Discours de la méthode (Discourse on Method), one of the first important modern philosophical works not written in Latin. Descartes said that he wrote in French so that all who had good sense, including women, could read his work and learn to use their reason to think for themselves. He believed that everyone could tell true from false by the natural light of reason. In three essays forming part of the Discourse, he illustrated his method for utilizing reason in the search for truth in the sciences. In Dioptrics he then presented the law of refraction, in Meteorology he explained the rainbow, and in Geometry he gave an exposition of analytic geometry, which is a method of representing geometric figures with algebraic equations that made many previously unsolvable problems solvable. He also introduced the conventions of representing known numerical quantities with a, b, c, . . . , unknowns with x, y, z, . . . , and squares, cubes, and other powers with numerical superscripts, as in x2, x3, . . . , which made algebraic notation much clearer than it had been before. (see also  symbol)

In Discourse and Regulae ad Directionem Ingenii (Rules for the Direction of the Mind), written by 1628 but not published until 1701, Descartes gave four rules for reasoning: (1) Accept nothing as true that is not self-evident. (2) Divide problems into their simplest parts. (3) Solve problems by proceeding from simple to complex. (4) Recheck the reasoning. These rules are a direct application of mathematical procedures. Descartes insisted that key notions and the limits of each problem must be clearly defined. (see also  problem solving)

In Discourse he also provided a provisional moral code (later presented as final) for use while seeking truth: (1) Obey local customs and laws. (2) Make decisions on the best evidence and then stick to them firmly as though they were certain. (3) Change desires rather than the world. (4) Always seek truth. This code exhibits Descartes's prudential conservatism, decisiveness, stoicism, and dedication. For Descartes all knowledge was like a tree -- with metaphysics forming the roots, physics the trunk, and medicine, mechanics, and morals the branches--on which the fruit of knowledge is produced.


2.5 Meditations.

In 1641 Descartes published in Latin--because it was dedicated to the Jesuit professors at the Sorbonne in Paris--Meditationes de Prima Philosophia (Meditations on First Philosophy in Which Is Proved the Existence of God and the Immortality of the Soul). Mersenne submitted it before publication to eminent thinkers, among whom were the Jansenist philosopher and theologian Antoine Arnauld, the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, and the Epicurean atomist Pierre Gassendi. Mersenne collected their critical responses and published them with the Meditations. Even though Descartes said that the Jesuit priest Pierre Bourdin, a respondent added in the second edition (1642), was a fool, these objections and replies constitute a landmark of cooperative discussion in philosophy and science at a time when dogmatism was the rule.

Descartes begins Meditations with methodic doubt, rejecting as though false all types of knowledge by which he was ever deceived. His arguments derive from the Pyrrhonism of the Greek skeptic Sextus Empiricus as reflected in the skeptical writings of Michel de Montaigne and Pierre Charron. Thus knowledge based on authority is set aside because even experts are sometimes wrong. Knowledge from sensory experience is declared untrustworthy because people sometimes mistake one thing for another, as with mirages. Knowledge based on reasoning is rejected as unreliable because one often makes mistakes as, for example, when adding. Finally, knowledge may be illusory because it comes from dreams or insanity or from a demon able to deceive men by making them think that they are experiencing the real world when they are not. Descartes finds certainty in the intuition that when he is thinking, even if deceived, he exists: " Cogito, ergo sum" (Latin: "I think, therefore I am"). The cogito is a logically self-evident truth that gives certain knowledge of a particular thing's existence--that is, one's self--but the cogito justifies accepting as certain only the existence of the person who thinks it. If all one ever knew for certain was that one exists and if one adhered to Descartes's method of doubting all that is uncertain, then one would be reduced to solipsism, the view that nothing exists but one's individual self and thoughts. To escape this, Descartes argues that all ideas that are as clear and distinct as the cogito must be true, for, if they were not, the cogito also, as a member of the class of clear and distinct ideas, could be doubted. Since "I think, therefore I am" cannot be doubted, all clear and distinct ideas must be true. (see also  perception, clarity and distinctness)

On the basis of clear and distinct innate ideas, Descartes then establishes that each mind is a spiritual substance and each body a part of one material substance. The mind or soul is immortal because it is unextended and cannot be broken into parts, as can extended bodies. Descartes also advances proof for the existence of God. He begins with the statement that he has an innate idea of God as a perfect being and then intuits that God necessarily exists, because, if he did not, he would not be perfect. This ontological proof for the existence of God is at the heart of Descartes's rationalism, for it establishes certain knowledge about an existing thing solely on the basis of reasoning from innate ideas, with no help from sensory experience. Descartes then argues that, because God is perfect, he does not deceive human beings; therefore the world exists. Thus Descartes claims to have given metaphysical foundations for the existence of his own mind, of God, and of the world. (see also  ontological argument)

A famous objection to Descartes's procedure is Arnauld's Cartesian Circle, which exposes the circularity inherent in Descartes's reasoning. To know that God exists, one must trust the clear and distinct idea of God; but, to know that clear and distinct ideas are true, one must know that God exists and does not deceive man. Descartes the rationalist rejected magic, but he failed to see that his ontological proof is word-magic based on the superstition that things can be determined by ideas and thoughts. In opposition to Descartes's rationalism, empiricists hold that descriptions of things must come after, not before, one knows by experience that they exist.


2.6 Physics, physiology, and morals.

Descartes's goal was to be master of nature. He provided understanding of the trunk of the tree of knowledge in The World, Dioptrics, Meteorology, and Geometry and revealed its roots in Meditations; he then spent the rest of his life working on the branches of mechanics, medicine, and morals. Mechanics is the basis of his medicine, or physiology, which in turn is the basis of his moral psychology. Descartes believed that all material bodies, including the human body, are machines that operate by mechanical principles. In his physiological studies, he dissected animal bodies to show how their parts move. He argued that, because animals have no souls, they do not think or feel; thus vivisection, which Descartes pioneered, is permitted. He also described the circulation of the blood but came to the erroneous conclusion that heat in the heart expands the blood, causing its expulsion. Descartes's L'Homme, et un traité de la formation du foetus (Man, and A Treatise on the Formation of the Foetus) was published in 1664. (see also  ethics, mechanism, cardiovascular system)

In 1641 Descartes was visited by Picot and Jacques Vallée Desbarreaux, known as "the Grand Debauché," who had published the libertine poet Théophile de Viau. Descartes used them as models for characters (he was himself model for a third) in his dialogue Recherche de la verité (1701; Search After Truth). In 1642 Samuel Sorbière, the French translator of Sextus and Hobbes, visited Descartes and wrote a charming description of him as host. Descartes then lived in the small but very elegant château of Endegeest, outside Leiden, near the court in The Hague.

In 1644 Descartes published Principia Philosophiae (Principles of Philosophy), a compilation of his physics and metaphysics. He dedicated this work to Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Elizabeth Stuart, titular queen of Bohemia, who was in exile in The Hague, for he had developed his moral philosophy in correspondence with her. According to Descartes, a human being is a union of mind and body, two dissimilar substances that interact in the pineal gland. He reasoned that the pineal gland must be the uniting point because it is the only non-double organ in the brain, and double reports, as from two eyes, must have one place to merge. He argued that each action on a person's sense organs causes subtle matter to move through tubular nerves to the pineal gland, causing it to vibrate distinctively. These vibrations give rise to emotions and passions and also cause the body to act. Bodily action is thus the final outcome of a reflex arc that begins with external stimuli and involves first an internal response, as, for example, when a soldier sees the enemy, feels fear, and flees. The mind cannot change bodily reactions directly--for example, it cannot will the body to fight--but it can change the pineal vibrations from those that cause fear and fleeing to those that cause courage and fighting. (see also  mind-body dualism, stimulus-response theory)

Descartes furthermore argued that men can be conditioned by experience to have specific emotional responses. He, for example, had been conditioned to be attracted to cross-eyed women because he had loved a cross-eyed playmate as a child. When he remembered this fact, however, he was able to rid himself of his passion. This insight was the basis for Descartes's defense of free will and of the mind's ability to control the body. Despite such arguments in defense of free will, in his Les Passions de l'âme (Passions of the Soul), dedicated in 1649 to Queen Christina of Sweden, Descartes holds that most bodily actions are determined by external material causes. (see also  conditioned reflex)

Descartes's morality was anti-Christian in that, in contrast to Calvinists and Jansenists, he suggested that grace is not necessary for salvation but that human beings are virtuous and able to achieve salvation when they do their best to find and act upon truth. His optimism about the ability of human reason and will to find truth and reach salvation is in stark contrast with the pessimism of the Jansenist (predestinarian) apologist and mathematician Blaise Pascal, who believed that salvation comes only as a gift of God's grace. Descartes was correctly accused of holding the view of Jacobus Arminius, an anti-Calvinist Dutch theologian, that virtuous behaviour depends on free will rather than on grace. Descartes also held that, unless people believe in God and immortality, they will see no reason to be moral.

Free will, Descartes stated, is the sign of God in human nature, and human beings can be praised or blamed according to their use of it. People are good only if they act in goodwill for the good of others; such generosity is the highest virtue. Descartes was Epicurean in his assertion that human passions are good in themselves and an extreme moral optimist in his belief that to understand the good is to want to do it; because passions are willings, to want something is to will it. He was also stoic, however, in his admonition that human beings should control their passions rather than change the world.

Although Descartes wrote no political philosophy, he approved of Seneca's admonition to acquiesce in the order of things. He rejected Machiavelli's recommendation to lie to friends, because friendship is sacred and life's greatest joy. Human beings cannot exist alone but must be parts of social groups, such as nations and families, and it is better to do good for the group than for oneself.

Descartes had been a puny child with a weak chest and was not expected to live. He therefore watched his health carefully and became a virtual vegetarian. In 1639 he bragged that he had not been sick for 19 years and expected to live to be 100. He told Elizabeth to think of life as a comedy; bad thoughts cause bad dreams and bodily disorders. Because there is always more good than evil in life, one can always be content, no matter how poorly off one is.

In his later years Descartes said that he had once hoped to learn to prolong life to a century or more, but he then saw that, in order to achieve that goal, the efforts of many generations would be required; he himself had not even learned to prevent a fever. Thus, he said, instead of continuing to hope for long life, he had found an easier way, namely to love life but not fear death. It is easy, he claimed, for a true philosopher to die tranquilly.


2.7 Final years and heritage.

After 16 years in the Netherlands, Descartes returned to France for brief visits in 1644, 1647, and 1648, on financial business and to oversee the translation into French of Principles, Meditations, and Objections and Replies. (The translators were, respectively, Picot, the Duke de Luynes, and Claude Clerselier.) In 1647 he also met with Gassendi and Hobbes and suggested to Pascal the famous experiment of taking a barometer up Mount Puy-de-Dôme to determine the influence of the weight of the air. In Paris Descartes joined with Pierre d'Alibert, treasurer general of France, in a plan to establish a workshop school of arts and crafts in the Royal College. Picot returned with Descartes to the Netherlands for the winter of 1647-48. During Descartes's final stay in Paris in 1648, the revolt of the nobility against the crown, known as the Fronde, broke out. As a result, Descartes left Paris precipitously on Aug. 17, 1648, only days before his mortally ill old friend Mersenne died. Back at his retreat in Egmond, in the Netherlands, Descartes was visited by the young Frans Burman, whose Conversations (first published in 1896) gives a genial and illuminating picture of Descartes.

Hector Pierre Chanut, Clerselier's brother-in-law, helped to procure a pension for Descartes from Louis XIV (which was never paid). Then Chanut, who was French resident and later ambassador to Sweden, gained an invitation for Descartes to the court of the Swedish monarch, Queen Christina, who by the close of the Thirty Years' War had become one of the most important and powerful monarchs in Europe. Descartes went reluctantly, arriving early in October 1649. He may have gone because he needed protection; the Fronde seemed to have destroyed his chances in Paris, and the Calvinist theologians were still harassing him in the Netherlands.

The 22-year-old Christina perversely made the 53-year-old Descartes rise at 5:00 AM to give her philosophy lessons, even though she knew of his habit of meditating in bed until 11 o'clock in the morning. She also is said to have ordered him to write a ballet in verse, La Naissance de la paix (1649; The Birth of Peace), celebrating Christina's role in the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years' War, and a comedy in five acts, now lost. In addition he wrote the statutes for a Swedish Academy of Arts and Sciences. While delivering these statutes to the Queen at 5:00 AM on Feb. 1, 1650, Descartes caught a chill. In this land, where he said that in winter men's thoughts freeze like the water, Descartes developed pneumonia. He died in Stockholm on Feb. 11, 1650. Many pious last words have been attributed to Descartes, but the most trustworthy report is probably that of his German valet, Schulter, who said that Descartes was in a coma and died without saying anything at all. The last thing Descartes wrote was a letter asking his brother to continue the pension Descartes had been paying to their old nurse.

After his death, Descartes's papers came into the possession of Clerselier, a pious Catholic, who began the process of turning Descartes into a saint by cutting, adding to, and selectively publishing his letters. This cosmetic work culminated in 1691 in the massive biography by Father Adrien Baillet, who had previously published a 17-volume Lives of the Saints. Even while Descartes was still alive, there were questions as to whether he was a Roman Catholic apologist, primarily concerned with supporting Christian doctrine, or an atheist, concerned only with protecting himself with pious sentiments while establishing a deterministic, mechanistic, and materialistic physics.

These questions remain difficult to answer, not least because many papers and manuscripts available to Clerselier and Baillet are now lost. The Roman Catholic church made its decision in 1667 by putting Descartes's works on the Index of Forbidden Books on the very day his bones were ceremoniously placed in Sainte-Geneviève-du-Mont in Paris. During his lifetime, Protestant ministers in the Netherlands called him a Jesuit and a papist--i.e., an atheist--but he said that they were intolerant, ignorant bigots. Up to about 1930, the majority of scholars, many of whom were religious, believed that Descartes's major concerns were metaphysical and religious. By the late 20th century, however, numerous commentators had come to believe that Descartes was a Catholic in the way he was a Frenchman and a royalist--that is, by birth and by politics.

Descartes himself said that good sense is destroyed when one thinks too much of God. He once told the German protégée Anne-Maria de Schurman that she was wasting her intellect studying Hebrew and theology. He also was perfectly aware of, although he tried to conceal, the atheistic potential of his materialist physics and physiology. Descartes also seemed indifferent to the emotional depths of religion. Whereas Pascal trembled when he looked into the infinite universe and perceived the puniness and misery of man, Descartes rejected the view that human beings are essentially miserable and sinful. Instead he exulted in the power of human reason to understand the cosmos and to promote human happiness. He held that it was impertinent to pray to God to change things, insisting rather that human beings must try to improve themselves.


데카르트 (René Descartes). (라)Renatius Cartesius. 1596. 3. 31 프랑스 투렌 라에~1650. 2. 11 스톡홀름. 프랑스의 수학자·과학자·철학자.

스콜라 학파의 아리스토텔레스주의에 처음 반대한 사람으로 근대철학의 아버지로 알려져 있다. 모든 형태의 지식을 방법적으로 의심하고 나서 "나는 생각한다. 그러므로 나는 존재한다"라는 직관이 확실한 지식임을 발견했다. 사유를 본질로 하는 정신과 연장(延長)을 본질로 하는 물질을 구분함으로써 이원론적 체계를 펼쳤다. 데카르트의 형이상학 체계는 본유관념으로부터 이성에 의해 도출된다는 점에서 직관주의적이나, 물리학과 생리학은 감각적 지식에 기초를 두고 있다는 점에서 경험주의적이다.

성장배경과 교육

아버지 조아섕은 렌 지방의 브르타뉴 의회 의원이었으며, 어머니는 그가 1세 때 죽었다. 그의 가족은 로마 가톨릭교를 믿었지만 가족의 연고지인 푸아투 지방은 위그노교의 본거지였다. 1606년 라 플레슈 예수회 대학에 입학하여, 훗날 프로테스탄트교를 탄핵한 자로 알려진 교부(敎父) 프랑수아 베롱에게 철학을 배웠다. 1614년 푸아티에에 가서 1616년 법학 학위를 땄다. 당시 푸아티에서는 위그노교도들이 루이 13세에게 격렬히 반항하고 있었다. 1618년 네덜란드 브레다로 가서 프로테스탄트 통치자인 오라녜 공(公) 마우리츠의 평화시(時) 군대에서 15개월 동안 수학과 군사건축학을 배웠다. 여기서 의사 이사크 베크만의 격려로 수학을 공부하고 〈음악에 관한 소고 Musicae Compendium〉(1618 저술, 사후 출판)를 썼다.

1619~28년 북·서 유럽을 여행했다. 보헤미아에 머물렀던 1619년 장차 인간의 권능에 관한 지식을 추구하는 과학자 및 철학자가 되려는 포부를 지니게 되었다. 1620년경에 이미 모든 과학에 적용할 수 있는 연역적 추론방법을 염두에 두고 있었다. 또 그는 자연에 대한 신지학적(神智學的) 지식도 검토했으며, 마술사 레이몽 륄과 연금술사 코르넬리우스 아그리파의 추종자들에게 실망했지만 독일의 수학자이자 장미십자회원인 요한 파울하버의 영향을 받은 상태였다. 1620년 바이에른 공작 막시밀리안 1세의 로마 가톨릭 군대에 몸담았다가 1662년 파리로 건너갔다. 이때 장 루이 게 드 발자크, 테오필 드 비오, 클로드 미도르주, 교부 마랭 메르센 등의 친구를 사귀었다. 특히 메르센은 일생 동안 수백명의 학자·저술가·수학자·과학자 등에게 서신을 보내 서로 무슨 일을 하는지 알게 해준 박식한 사람으로, 데카르트가 더욱 광대한 지적 세계와 접촉하도록 만든 주요인물이었다. 데카르트는 저서를 출판하기 훨씬 전부터 널리 이름이 알려져 있었다.

데카르트는 1628년 과학에서는 확실성과 마찬가지로 개연성이 중요하다는 연금술사 샹두의 주장을 거부하고 확실성을 얻기 위한 자신의 방법을 이야기했다. 예수회 체제에 맞서 1611년 오라토리오회 교육체제를 기초하고 평신도로 비밀군사조직을 만들어 프로테스탄트교와 싸웠던 베륄 추기경은 이에 깊은 인상을 받고 데카르트를 초대했다. 평론가들의 추측에 따르면 베륄은 예수회의 토마스주의를 대체하기 위해 데카르트에게 아우구스티누스주의 형이상학을 집필하도록 권고했다. 베륄은 데카르트를 가톨릭에 귀의시키고자 애썼으나 결국 데카르트는 프로테스탄트 국가인 네덜란드로 떠나 거처를 숨기면서 16년 동안 프랑스에 돌아오지 않았다.

프로테스탄트교를 포함한 이교도에 대한 가톨릭교의 박해가 심했던 프랑스와 달리 네덜란드는 종교적 관용의 안식처였다. 여기서 데카르트는 루칠리오 바니니처럼 신의 기적을 자연적으로 설명한 죄목으로 화형을 당하거나(1619) 로마 가톨릭의 반종교개혁에 충성하는 군대에 징집될 것이라는 두려움 없이 독창적인 사상가가 될 수 있었다.


데카르트는 1629년 프라네커대학교에 가서도 여전히 로마 가톨릭교도로 남아 있었으며, 이때 처음으로 〈제일철학에 관한 성찰 Meditationes de Prima Philosophia〉의 초안을 썼다. 1630년 라이덴대학교에 등록하여 의사 앙리 르네리를 제자로 맞아들였다. 1631년 덴마크를 방문했고 1633~34년 의사이자 연금술사 에티엔 드 빌브레시외와 함께 독일에 머물렀다. 의사 H. 레기우스가 1639년 위트레흐트대학교에서 데카르트의 견해를 가르치자 칼뱅주의 신학자 기스베르투스 뵈티우스와의 격렬한 논쟁이 일어났는데, 이 논쟁은 데카르트 말년까지 계속되었다. 데카르트는 1648년 〈뵈티우스에게 보내는 편지〉에서 프로테스탄트교와 가톨릭교는 같은 신을 숭배하기 때문에 둘 다 신의 은총을 구할 수 있다고 주장하면서 관용과 인권을 호소했다. 그러나 논쟁이 심화되자 데카르트는 프랑스 대사 및 친구인 콘스탄테인 호이헨스에게 보호를 요청했다.


데카르트는 1633년 코페르니쿠스적 관점에서 우주론과 물리학을 다룬 〈세계 Le Monde〉(사후 출판)를 출판하려 했으나 이탈리아 천문학자 갈릴레오 갈릴레이가 지동설을 주장하여 유죄판결을 받았다는 이야기를 듣고 나서, 훗날 교회가 유죄판결을 철회하면 출판할 수 있으리라는 희망을 갖고 출판을 자제했다. 교회가 두려웠지만, 한편으로는 자신의 물리학이 언젠가는 아리스토텔레스의 물리학을 대체할 것이라는 희망도 품었다.

1637년 〈 방법서설 Discours de la méthode〉을 출판했다. 이 책은 라틴어로 쓰지 않은 최초의 근대철학서이다. 〈방법서설〉의 각 부를 이루고 있는 세 논문에서 데카르트는 과학적 진리를 찾기 위한 이성의 사용법을 예증했다. 〈광학〉에서는 굴절법칙을, 〈기상학〉에서는 무지개를 설명했으며, 〈기하학〉에서는 대수방정식으로 기하학적 도형을 표현하여 지금까지 풀 수 없었던 많은 문제를 푸는 방법인 해석기하학을 제시했다. 또 기지수(旣知數)를 a, b, c 등으로, 미지수를 x, y, z등으로, 평면체와 입방체를 포함한 기하학적 도형을 x2, x3 등과 같이 표현하는 관례를 도입하여 대수 개념을 전보다 훨씬 분명하게 했다. 〈방법서설〉과 〈정신지도 규칙 Regulae ad Directionem Ingenii〉(1628 저술, 사후 출판)에서 데카르트는 추론의 4가지 규칙을 제시했다. 즉 첫째, 자명하지 않다면 그 어떤 것도 승인하지 말 것, 둘째, 문제를 가장 단순한 부분들로 세분할 것, 셋째, 단순한 것에서 복잡한 것으로 나아가며 문제를 풀 것, 넷째, 추론을 다시 검토할 것 등이다. 이 규칙들은 수학적 추론절차를 직접 적용한 것으로, 데카르트는 각 문제의 핵심 개념과 한계는 분명하게 정의해야 한다고 주장했다. 〈방법서설〉에서는 또 진리를 찾기 위해 사용해야 할 도덕률을 잠정적으로(나중에 최종적으로) 제시했다. 즉 첫째, 지방 관습과 법률을 지킬 것, 둘째, 최선의 증거에 입각하여 결정을 내린 뒤 그 결정을 확실한 것으로 고수할 것, 셋째, 세계보다는 욕구를 변화시킬 것, 넷째, 언제나 진리를 추구할 것 등이다. 데카르트에게 모든 지식은 하나의 나무, 즉 형이상학이 뿌리, 물리학이 줄기, 의학·역학·도덕이 가지를 이루어 지식이라는 과일을 생산하는 나무와도 같았다.

1641년 데카르트는 〈제일철학에 관한 성찰〉을 라틴어로 출판했다. 책이 나오기 전에 메르센은 얀센주의 철학자이자 신학자 앙투안 아르노, 영국 철학자 토머스 홉스, 에피쿠로스주의 원자론자 가생디 등에게 책을 보냈으며 그들의 비평을 모아 〈반론과 응답 Objectiones Septimae〉(1642)을 출판했다. 〈반론과 응답〉은 독단이 지배하던 시대에 철학과 과학에서 공동 토의를 보여주는 상징이었다.

데카르트는 〈제일철학에 관한 성찰〉에서 한 번이라도 자기를 속인 적이 있는 모든 형태의 지식을 일단 거짓으로 여기고 그것을 거부하는 태도, 곧 방법적 회의를 제의한다. 첫째, 권위에 기초한 지식은 노련한 전문가들도 간혹 틀리기 때문에 버려야 한다. 둘째, 감각경험에서 얻은 지식은 때때로 착각을 낳으므로 신뢰해서는 안 된다. 셋째, 추론에 기초한 지식은 가령 덧셈과 같이 가끔 잘못을 저지르는 경우가 있으므로 믿을 수 없다. 넷째, 또 어떤 지식은 없는 것을 있는 것처럼 경험하도록 하여 사람을 속이는 악마나 꿈, 정신착란 등에서 오는 환상일 수 있다. 그러나 데카르트는 비록 속아서 사유하더라도 '내가 사유하는 한 나는 존재한다'(Cogito ergo, sum:나는 생각한다. 그러므로 나는 존재한다)는 직관만은 확실하다고 생각했다. '코기토'는 하나의 특수한 사물 곧 자신의 자아가 존재한다는 확실한 지식을 제공하므로 논리적으로 자명한 진리이다. 그러나 '코기토'는 단지 사유하는 사람만의 존재를 확실한 것으로 정당화할 뿐이다. 만일 각자가 자기 자신이 존재함을 이미 확실하게 알고 있고 그밖의 모든 것을 불확실한 것으로 의심하는 데 그치고 만다면, 결국 존재하는 것이라고는 자기 자신과 자기의 사유뿐이라는 유아론(唯我論)에 빠지게 된다. 이 유아론에서 벗어나기 위해 데카르트는 '코기토'처럼 명석하고 판명한 모든 관념은 반드시 참일 수밖에 없다고 주장했다. 그렇지 않다면 명석하고 판명한 관념의 하나인 '코기토'도 미심쩍은 것이 될 수 있기 때문이다. 그러나 "나는 생각한다. 그러므로 나는 존재한다"는 의심할 수 없는 것이다. 따라서 명석하고 판명한 모든 관념은 반드시 참일 수밖에 없다.

명석하고 판명한 본유관념(本有觀念)에 기초하여 데카르트는 각자의 마음이 정신적 실체이고 육체가 물질적 실체라고 확신했다. 마음이나 영혼은 비연장적이어서 연장을 가진 육체처럼 부분들로 쪼개질 수 없는 까닭에 사멸하지 않는다. 데카르트는 나아가 이 존재한다는 점도 증명하고자 했다. 그는 자신이 완전자로서의 신에 대한 본유관념을 지니고 있다는 점에서 출발하여 신이 필연적으로 존재함을 직관적으로 알 수 있다고 보았다. 왜냐하면 신이 필연적으로 존재하지 않는다면, 신은 완전하지 않을 것이기 때문이다. 신의 존재에 대한 이와 같은 존재론적 증명은 감각경험의 도움없이 본유관념에서 출발하는 추론에만 의거하여 사물에 관한 지식을 확립하는 데카르트의 합리론에서 핵심을 이루고 있다. 데카르트는 신은 완전하기 때문에 인간을 속이지 않으며, 따라서 세계는 실제로 존재하는 것이라고 주장했다. 이와 같이 데카르트는 자신의 마음·신·세계 등이 존재하기 위한 형이상학 기초를 놓았다고 선언했다.

데카르트의 논과정을 반박하는 견해로 널리 알려진 것은 그의 추론이 순환적임을 지적한 아르노의 '데카르트의 순환'이다. 즉 신이 존재한다는 것을 알기 위해서는 신에 대한 명석하고 판명한 관념을 믿어야 하고, 명석하고 판명한 관념이 반드시 참임을 알기 위해서는 신이 존재하고 인간을 속이지 않음을 전제해야 한다는 것이다. 합리론자 데카르트는 마력(魔力)을 거부했지만, 정작 자신의 존재론적 증명이 사물을 관념과 사유로 결정할 수 있다는 미신에 의거한 언어 마술임을 깨닫지 못했다. 경험론자들은 이와 반대로 사물에 대한 기술(記述)은 사물이 존재함을 경험으로 알고 난 뒤에 이루어져야지 그 이전에 이루어져서는 안 된다고 주장했다.

철학과 도덕관

데카르트의 목표는 자연에 정통하는 것이었다. 〈세계·광학·기상학·지리학〉에서는 지식 나무의 줄기에 대한 이해를 제공했고 〈제일철학에 관한 성찰〉에서는 그 뿌리를 해명한 뒤, 역사·의학·도덕 등 지식의 가지를 연구하면서 여생을 보냈다. 역학은 의학이나 생리학의 기초이고 의학 또는 생리학은 도덕심리학의 기초이다. 데카르트는 인간의 육체를 포함한 모든 물체가 역학원리에 따라 작동하는 기계라고 믿었다 (→ 색인 : 기계론). 생리학을 연구하면서 동물의 육체를 해부하여 각 부분이 어떻게 움직이는가를 보였고, 동물은 영혼을 갖지 않기 때문에 생각할 수도 느낄 수도 없다고 주장했다. 또 혈액순환에 대해서도 기술했으나, 심장의 열기가 혈액을 팽창·분출시킨다는 잘못된 결론을 내렸다. 〈인간, 태아발생론 L'Homme, et un Traité de la formation du foetus〉은 사후에 출판되었다.

1641년 데카르트는 피코와 자크 발레 데바로의 방문을 받고 이 두 사람을 주인공(자신은 조연)으로 대화록 〈진리 탐색〉을 썼으며, 1644년에는 자신의 물리학과 형이상학을 집성하여 〈철학의 원리 Principia Philosophiae〉를 출판했다. 데카르트에 따르면 인간은 정신과 육체의 통일이며, 정신과 육체는 송과선(松果腺)에서 상호작용하는 서로 다른 두 실체이다. 송과선은 두뇌의 기관으로는 쌍을 이루지 않은 유일한 기관이므로 정신과 육체의 합일점임에 틀림없다고 데카르트는 추론했다. 그의 주장에 따르면 감각기관에 미치는 작용 하나하나가 신경관을 통해 미세한 물질을 송과선에 전달하여 독특한 진동을 일으키고, 이 진동이 감정과 격정을 유발하여 육체의 작용을 야기한다. 예를 들어 어떤 병사가 적을 보고 두려움을 느껴 도망치는 경우처럼, 외부자극에서 시작하는 반사궁(反射弓)은 우선 내부반응을 거친 뒤 육체의 작용이라는 최종 결과에 이른다. 정신은 육체의 반응을 직접 변화시킬 수는 없고, 송과선의 진동을 두려움과 도망을 유발하는 상태에서 용기와 싸움을 유발하는 상태로 변화시킬 수 있을 뿐이다. 나아가 데카르트는 인간이 특수한 감정적 반응을 일으키는 것은 경험이라는 조건에 좌우될 수 있다고 주장했다. 예를 들어 데카르트는 어린시절 사팔뜨기 소꿉동무를 사랑해 한동안 사팔뜨기 여인만 보면 마음이 끌린 적이 있었는데, 나중에 어릴 적 일을 기억해내고는 비로소 자신의 감정을 제거할 수 있었다고 한다. 데카르트의 이러한 통찰은 그가 자유의지와 정신의 육체조절 능력을 옹호하는 밑거름이 되었다. 그러나 자유의지를 옹호하는 그와 같은 논변에도 불구하고, 1649년 〈 정념론 Les Passions de l'âme〉에서는 인간의 육체작용 대부분이 외부의 물질적 원인에 의해 결정된다고 주장했다.

데카르트의 도덕관은 반그리스도교적이었다. 데카르트는 칼뱅주의 및 예수회와는 대조적으로 신의 은총이 구원을 받기 위해 반드시 필요한 것은 아니며, 오히려 진리를 발견하고 그에 따라 행동하는 데 최선을 다할 때 비로소 덕이 쌓여 구원을 받을 수 있다고 암시했다. 인간의 이성과 의지가 진리발견을 통해 구원에 이르는 능력을 갖고 있다는 데카르트의 낙관적 견해는, 구원을 오로지 신이 내리는 은총의 선물로만 여긴 예수회 운명예정설 변호론자이자 수학자 블레즈 파스칼의 비관적 견해와는 큰 대조를 이루고 있다. 데카르트는 유덕한 행동이 은총보다는 자유의지에 달려 있다고 말한 12세기 아랍 철학자 아베로에스의 잘못을 되풀이하고 있다고 비난받았다. 데카르트에 따르면 자유의지는 인간의 본성에 깃들어 있는 신의 상징이어서 인간은 그것을 어떻게 사용하는가에 따라 칭찬이나 비난을 받을 수 있다. 사람들은 오직 타인의 선(善)을 위해 호의를 갖고 행동할 때만 선하며 이러한 관용이 최고의 덕이다.

데카르트는 인간의 정념이 그 자체로 선하다고 주장한 점에서 에피쿠로스주의자였으며, 선을 이해하는 것이 곧 선을 행하기를 원하는 것이라고 생각한 점에서 극단적인 도덕적 낙관주의자였다. 그가 보기에 정념은 자발적인 의지이며, 어떤 것을 원하는 것은 그것을 하고자 하는 것이었다. 그러나 데카르트는 인간이 세계를 변화시키기 보다는 자신의 정념을 통제해야 한다고 촉구한 점에서 스토아주의자이기도 했다.

데카르트는 정치철학에 관한 글을 쓰지 않았지만, 사물들의 질서에 순종하라는 세네카의 충고를 받아들였다. 그러나 우정을 생애 최고의 거룩한 기쁨으로 여겼기 때문에, 친구를 속이도록 권하는 마키아벨리의 충고는 거부했다. 인간은 홀로 존재할 수 없고 국가·가족 등 사회집단의 일원일 수밖에 없으므로, 자기 자신보다는 집단의 이익을 위해 행동하는 것이 더 바람직하다고 생각했다.

말년과 유산

네덜란드에서 16년을 보낸 뒤 데카르트는 1644, 1647, 1648년에 잠깐씩 프랑스에 돌아와 머물면서 〈철학의 원리〉·〈제일철학에 관한 성찰〉·〈반론과 응답〉의 프랑스어 번역(역자는 각각 피코, 뤼용 공작, 클로드 클레르슬리에)을 감수했다. 1647년에는 가생디와 홉스를 만났으며, 기압 측정을 위해 퓌드돔 산(山)에 기압계를 설치하는 실험을 파스칼에게 제안하기도 했다. 파리에서는 프랑스 재무장관 피에르 달리베르와 접촉하여 왕립대학에 기예(技藝) 실습학교를 설립하는 계획에 참여했다. 1648년 마지막으로 파리에 머무는 동안 프롱드의 난(亂)이 일어나자 급히 파리를 떠나 네덜란드의 에흐몬트로 돌아갔다.

1649년 데카르트는 클레르슬리에의 동생이자 스웨덴 주재 프랑스 대사 엑토르 피에르 샤뉘의 주선으로 스웨덴 여왕 크리스티나의 궁정에 초대받았다. 데카르트는 매일 오전 5시에 크리스티나에게 철학을 강의했으며, 그녀의 명령으로 지금은 남아 있지 않은 5막 형식의 희극 1편과 〈평화의 탄생 La Naissance de la paix〉이라는 무도회용 시를 썼는데, 이 시는 30년전쟁의 종결을 가져온 베스트팔렌 평화조약에서 크리스티나가 한 역할을 칭송하고 평화주의를 표방하는 글이었다. 이밖에도 스웨덴 학술원 설립 법안을 마련하기도 했다. 1650년 2월 1일 오전 5시 여왕에게 법안을 제출했을 때 데카르트는 감기에 걸렸다. 그 자신이 겨울이면 인간의 사고도 물처럼 언다고 말한 스웨덴에서 감기가 폐렴으로 악화된 탓에 1650년 2월 11일 스톡홀름에서 숨을 거두었다.

데카르트가 죽은 뒤, 경건한 가톨릭교도였던 클레르슬리에가 유고를 입수하여 선별 간행함으로써 데카르트를 성인의 반열에 올리는 작업을 개시했다. 이 윤색작업은 교부 아드리앵 바예가 1691년 방대한 데카르트 전기를 펴내면서 절정에 이르렀다. 그러나 데카르트가 정말 그리스도교 교리를 지지하는 데 주된 관심을 쏟은 로마 가톨릭교 옹호론자였는지, 아니면 결정론적·기계론적·유물론적 물리학을 확립하면서도 경건한 자세로 자신을 보호한 무신론자였는지는 그가 살아 있을 때도 확실하지 않았다. 이 문제는 클레르슬리에와 바예가 이용한 데카르트의 많은 원고들이 현재로선 유실된 상태이기 때문에 아직도 대답하기 어렵다. 로마 가톨릭 교회는 1667년 데카르트의 유골이 파리 주느비에브뒤몽 성당에 안치되던 바로 그날에 그의 책들을 금서목록에 올렸다. 한편 네덜란드 프로테스탄트교 목사들은 데카르트 생전에 줄곧 그를 예수회회원이자 교황예찬론자 즉 무신론자라고 불렀다. 1930경까지만 해도 대다수의 학자들은 데카르트의 주요관심이 형이상학적 종교에 있었다고 믿었으나, 20세기 후반에 들어서는 그가 태생이나 정치면에서 프랑스인이자 왕정주의자였다는 점에서 가톨릭교도였다고 믿게 되었다.

데카르트는 사람이 신을 너무 생각하다 보면 분별력을 잃는다고 말했다. 가급적 숨기고자 애썼지만 자신의 유물론적 물리학과 생리학이 무신론의 싹을 내포하고 있음도 알고 있었다. 데카르트는 무한한 우주를 쳐다보고 인간의 왜소함과 비참함을 느껴 전율에 휩싸인 파스칼과는 달리, 인간은 불쌍하고 죄 많은 존재라는 견해를 거부하고 오히려 우주를 이해하고 행복을 증진하는 인간 이성의 능력에 찬사를 보냈다. 사물을 변화시키려고 신에 기도하는 일은 건방진 태도이며, 그보다 인간은 자기개선을 위해 노력해야 한다고 주장했다.

R. A. Watson 글 | 徐道植 참조집필






3.1 The Cartesian system.

Cartesianism is a set of philosophical traditions and scientific attitudes. Metaphysically, Cartesianism is rationalist and Platonic, meaning that certain knowledge is derived by reason from innate ideas. This opposes the empiricist Aristotelian view that all knowledge is probable and is based on sense experience. In practice, however, Cartesians developed probabilistic scientific views from observation and experiment, as did empiricists. Cartesians had to be satisfied with uncertainty in science because they believed that God is omnipotent and that his will is entirely free. From this it follows that God, who, in addition to the material world, created all truths (such as those of mathematics and the laws of nature), could, nonetheless, given his infinite intellect and his free will, arbitrarily make even contradictions be true. The human intellect, by contrast, is finite; thus men can be certain only of the cogito and of revealed religion. Cartesians, however, did not derive scientific truths from religious knowledge, as did the Roman Catholic church, and thus in practice they had to accept scientific knowledge as uncertain and probable. (see also  science, philosophy of)

Cartesians divide the world into a metaphysical dualism of two finite substances, mind (spirit or soul) and matter. The essence of mind is self-conscious thinking, the essence of matter extension in three dimensions. God is a third, infinite substance, whose essence is necessary existence, and God unites minds with bodies to create a fourth, compound substance, man. Humans have general knowledge of mind, matter, and God by contemplating innate ideas. For particular knowledge of events in the world, however, humans depend on motions, transmitted from the sense organs through nerves to the brain, that cause sensible ideas to arise in the mind. Cartesians thus claimed to know the outer world by way of representative sensible ideas in the mind. (see also  mind-body dualism)

This dualism of mind and matter gives rise to serious problems concerning causal interaction and knowing. Given the essential unlikeness of mind and matter in the compound substance man, how can the body cause the mind to have sensible ideas? How can the mind cause the body to move? And how can the mind know the material world by way of sensible ideas that are mental? Various lines of Cartesian philosophy developed from different answers to these questions. (see also  knowledge)


3.2 Cartesian mechanism.

The first French Cartesians were physicists and physiologists who gave mechanistic explanations of physical and biological phenomena. Father Nicolas Malebranche, a French theologian and philosopher who believed that animals are machines, is said to have kicked a pregnant dog and then to have chastised such critics as Jean de La Fontaine, the French writer of animal fables, for expending their emotions over an unfeeling machine that moves and makes noises depending merely on how and where it is stimulated rather than concerning themselves with human misery. In Paris the lectures of Pierre-Sylvain Régis on Cartesian physics--accompanied by spectacular demonstrations--created such a sensation that Louis XIV forbade them. Because Cartesianism challenged the traditional Aristotelian science supported by the Roman Catholic church and because the church stood behind the divine right of kings to rule, the king feared that any criticism of traditional authority might give rise to revolution. (Descartes's stress on each individual's ability to think for oneself did provide support for republicanism in the 18th century.)

Advancement in mechanical arts and crafts provided the practical foundation of Cartesian mechanism. In the 17th century, mechanical inventions such as statues that walked and talked by application of levers and pullies and organs that played by waterpower were well known. Pascal invented a calculating machine based on principles worked out by clockmakers and by inventors of spinning and knitting machines, such as the Englishman William Lee. The first Cartesian inventors were the French craftsman Ferrier, who made lenses according to Descartes's designs, and Étienne de Villebressieu, who with Descartes's collaboration developed an improved pump.

Mechanism was promoted by Mersenne and derived theoretically from Gassendi's Epicurean atomism and Galileo's experiments with moving bodies. According to Descartes, the material universe consists of an indefinitely large plenum of infinitely divisible matter separated into the subtle matter of space and the denser matter of bodies by a set quantity of motion imparted by God. Bodies swirl like leaves in a whirlwind in vortices as great as that in which the planets sweep around the Sun and as small as that of tiny, spinning globes of light. All bodily joinings and separations are mechanical and result from moving bodies bumping into one another. Because the amount of motion is conserved according to the laws of nature, the Cartesian material world is deterministic. After the initial impulse, the world evolves lawfully; if the speeds and amounts of motion and the positions of all the whirling portions of matter in the universe were described for any one time, then simple deductions with reference to the laws of motion would allow their descriptions for any other time. Of course only God has the infinite intellect required to make these calculations.

God is the primary cause of the existence of the material universe and of the laws of nature, but all material events--i.e., the actual movements and interactions of bodies--occur as results of secondary causes. God stands merely for the uniformity and consistency of the laws of nature.

Cartesianism was critically evaluated in England by Henry More and was popularized by Antoine Le Grand, a French Franciscan, who gave an exposition of the typically ingenious mechanistic explanation of light and colour. Light consists of tiny, spinning globes of highly elastic, subtle matter that fly through the air in straight lines and bounce like tennis balls on angles consistent with the laws of optics. Different colours, in this view, are caused by different speeds and spins of the globes, determined by the texture of the surfaces that reflect or transmit light. The spectrum of colours caused by light passing through a triangular prism is the result of the globes passing more slowly through thicker rather than thinner portions. The same spectrum of colours occurs when light passes through thinner and thicker parts of raindrops, giving rise to rainbows. Such simple mechanistic explanations were shown by Newton and others to be inadequate for explaining the forces of gravitation and chemical bonding. Nonetheless, this explanation of light and colour is in principle like the explanation, now accepted, that light can be separated into colours according to different wavelengths.

By the end of the 17th century, Cartesian rationalistic physics had been abandoned for the empirical results of observation and experience, and the explanatory value of Newton's mathematical physics vastly exceeded that of simple mechanism. Cartesians admitted that Descartes's laws of motion were wrong and that the principle of the conservation of motion had to be replaced by Newtonian principles of the conservation of vis viva and linear momentum. Although Jacques Rohault's Treatise (1671) on Cartesian physics was translated into English in 1723 by Samuel Clarke, a philosopher and theologian and also a friend and disciple of Newton's, and by his brother Thomas Clarke, their corrections and annotations with footnotes turned the treatise into an exposition of Newtonian physics.


3.3 Mechanism versus Aristotelianism.

Cartesian mechanism was in opposition to the scholastic Aristotelian science supported by both Roman Catholic and Protestant theologians. These theologians held that, because all things are created by God with a given nature, there is no evolutionary development of either the universe or animals. For Aristotelians the motive force of a thing is the internal power of its nature--on the model of willpower--that, for example, makes an acorn become an oak tree. Every individual thing was thus thought to contain an essence or nature, a spirit or soul, that gives it its distinctive being. These souls are what give life to living things, whereas, for mechanists, animate bodies are no more than very complicated machines. For Cartesians, the human body, for example, does not die because the soul leaves it, as the Aristotelians say; the soul leaves because the body disintegrates. According to the Aristotelian view, all things have virtues or desires and strive to reach predetermined goals. Thus everything is purposive, and to understand a thing scientifically one must know the end or final cause toward which it aims. (see also  scholasticism)

Descartes rejected both the teleological, animistic view and the related theory of alchemy that there are vital forces in things. Cartesians denied the existence of these occult, or magical, forces, insisting instead that only God and humans have spirits, wills, purposes, and ends. They perceived both animate and inanimate bodies as having no goals but as simply being pushed around passively. For Cartesians, science therefore consisted of looking not for final causes but rather for the mechanical laws of moving bodies. Thus Descartes ridiculed the belief that the stars--bodies many times larger than the Earth and immensely far away--exert influences on human beings, as astrologers claim. (Descartes's attack on astrology was made at a time when the Cardinal de Richelieu, Louis XIII's first minister, had horoscopes cast and consulted seers such as Bérulle.) Mechanists also opposed magic by conjuring or magic by incantations--that is, appeals to angels and the supposed spirits in things--and sympathetic magic, because they perceived no mechanical reason why things that look alike should influence one another. (see also  occultism)

There are no hidden powers in Cartesian mechanistic natural science. By insisting on human free will, however, Descartes places the human soul or mind, like God, outside deterministic nature. Because the body is a part of deterministic nature, the mind's control of body movements tends to be miraculous and destructive of mechanistic determinism. In the end, given Descartes's system, the human mind must be perceived as an animistic force and its ability to move the body by willpower as magic.


3.4 Mind, body, and man.

Most Cartesians believed that the mind and body interact. When asked how, Régis gave the standard Cartesian reply that human beings experience it and that God can and does make interaction take place, even if one cannot understand how. This is to offer a nonphilosophical, mystical answer to a problem that demands a clear explanation. As for the question of how ideas represent objects, the physician Rohault spoke for all Cartesians when he replied that God made ideas that are mental to represent material bodies without resembling them and that no further explanation is necessary. Again, this answer abdicates philosophy for mysticism and theology; it sounds like the reintroduction of Aristotelian forms or natures and thus goes against Descartes's own claim to be able to give intelligible explanations of all natural phenomena. (see also  mind-body dualism)

Thomists (adherents of the philosophical and theological system developed by Thomas Aquinas) say the soul or mind is an Aristotelian form or nature--i.e., a force or power to inform or make neutral matter into a specific thing. In the example of the acorn, the form is what makes the acorn develop into an oak tree. On this view, a human is a unitary substance compounded of a form (the soul) and neutral matter, neither of which can exist independently. The human soul, however, is said to be a substantial form, miraculously able to exist independently of matter and thus to survive the death of the body. Descartes pointed out that this notion of substantial form is contradictory. Cartesian dualism presents the mind or soul as a substance existing in itself, independently of matter, and thus explains immortality without resorting to the miracle of turning the soul-form into a substance. This dualism, however, presented Cartesians with a serious problem about the ultimate nature of humans. The French physician Louis de La Forge concluded that at death the mind or soul is completely severed from all knowledge of individual bodies. This occurs because sensible ideas, for Cartesians, arise from the mind-body union for the sole purpose of preserving the body by presenting harmful things as painful and beneficial things as pleasurable. Human beings learn by experience what to seek and avoid, and the memory of these experiences is preserved in the brain. Once the body dies, however, both the need for sensible ideas and their memory traces in the brain are destroyed. What the soul knows of matter after death is only the general idea of extension; that is, it knows mathematics but cannot remember the faces of friends. One problem this view raises is that, because bodily associations and memories are eliminated at death, individual personality is lost; thus it would be impossible to differentiate one soul from another. On Cartesian principles, a human being survives death only as an impersonal soul, identical to all other bodiless souls. Like the notion that animals are mere machines, the Cartesian conclusion that sensible manifestations of this life are neither continued nor remembered in the next was unpopular. (see also  Thomism)


3.5 Science and religion.

Besides the mind-matter dualism within Cartesian metaphysics, in Cartesianism as a whole there is a dualism between rationalist metaphysics, which depends on the certainty of general reasoning about innate ideas of mind, matter, and the necessary existence of God, and mechanistic physics, which advances scientific knowledge by accumulating probabilities based on observation and experience of the particularities of the material world. This has led some commentators to present Descartes almost exclusively as an apologist for Christianity, while others have argued persuasively that he was an atheist materialist interested only in physics. Descartes publicly denied interest in theology, but in letters he offered mechanistic explanations of transubstantiation. Thomists said that the forms of bread and wine are miraculously sustained as substantial forms (like the Thomistic soul), while their matter is replaced by Christ's flesh and blood. Rohault utilized the Cartesian view that sensible ideas are caused by configurations of the parts of material bodies to argue that, if bread and wine were replaced by flesh and blood whose parts have exactly the same configurations as bread and wine, the flesh and blood would look, feel, and taste like bread and wine. While this would require miraculous replacement of bread and wine by flesh and blood, there would be no issue of contradictory substantial forms.

The Flemish Calvinist Arnold Geulincx developed a deterministic Cartesian ethics. In his view, although one can do only what God has willed, one is free to accept this willingly or unwillingly. Virtue consists in the humble, diligent, and obedient acceptance of the justice of God's decrees in the light of reason, whereas sin and evil result from an egotistic (and futile) stand against God. This stoic ethics, with its affinity to Calvinist and Jansenist predestinarianism, is as deterministic as Cartesian physics; it does, however, contradict Descartes's claim that the human will is free not just to accept or reject the rightness of predetermined bodily actions but also to choose and cause particular actions.


3.6 Malebranche and occasionalism.

The most important philosophical work stemming directly from Descartes's writings is Search After Truth (1674-75) by the Oratorian Malebranche. His position is known as occasionalism, and it was adopted also by Geulincx and the French philosopher Géraud de Cordemoy. Malebranche was convinced by the argument--urged most strongly by the French skeptic and chaplain Simon Foucher--that, because of their essential unlikeness, Cartesian mind and matter cannot interact. Malebranche held that, on every occasion when human bodies interact with the world, God provides the appropriate sensible ideas in their minds. And, on every occasion when humans will that their bodies move, God makes them move. Thus there is no direct causal interaction between mind and body; there are only separate but parallel sequences of mental and material events intermediated by God. Foucher also argued that, because ideas that are mental cannot resemble material things, ideas cannot represent bodies. That is, sensible ideas are coloured images, tactile feelings, sounds, odours, and tastes--as sensed--while the properties of material bodies are size, shape, position, and motion or rest; for example, the taste of sweetness is utterly unlike the sugar that causes it. How then do these ideas give knowledge of the outer world as it really is? Like Descartes before him, Malebranche denied that ideas must resemble their objects to represent them. To the possibility that one might have sensible ideas of a nonexistent world, Malebranche said tersely that the first chapter of Genesis assures the existence of the material world. As to how man's ideas of this world are true, Malebranche offered the Platonic view that ideas of all things reside in God and that on appropriate occasions God illuminates these ideas for human observation. Thus human beings see all things in God and rest assured in his goodness.

Malebranche denied that he was a Cartesian. Unlike Descartes, he argued that introspection gives no knowledge of the essence of the mind. This led the English philosopher John Locke to suggest that matter might, for all human beings know, be able to think. All Cartesians opposed this possibility because the separation of mind or soul from body supports the Christian doctrine that the human soul survives the death of the body.


3.7 Later philosophers.

The rationalist metaphysics of the Dutch-Jewish philosopher Benedict de Spinoza derives from Descartes. Spinoza's Ethics (1677) was written in mathematico-deductive form, with definitions, axioms, and derived theorems. Spinoza's metaphysics is monistic, pantheistic, and deistic in that he argued that there is only one substance, God, which is the world and not (as theists hold) a person. This substance has an infinite number of attributes, each of which expresses the totality of God or the world. The only attributes humans know are mind and matter. All attributes are parallel in every respect, and thus, although mind and matter do not interact, for Spinoza as for Malebranche they appear to do so. (see also  monism, psychophysical parallelism)

Another rationalist, the German scientist and diplomat Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, also gave a parallelistic answer to mind-body problems. Leibnizian monads, or psychic units of reality--inner forces, or powers, of the sort Descartes banished from the world--are self-complete. Each monad reflects the entire universe from its own point of view. Monads do not interact, but, because each is in preestablished harmony with all the others, the appearance of interaction is maintained.

The Irish phenomenalist George Berkeley also presented a monistic system. He vindicated the commonsense belief that material things are like sensible ideas by saying that there is no matter; bodies are only collections of sensible ideas provided to the human mind in lawful order by God. Thus ideas are not representative and open to skeptical objections about whether they provide true knowledge of things. Things or phenomena are known directly, according to Berkeley. There also is no problem of mind-body interaction, because bodies are made up of mental ideas, some of which the human mind can control.

Hobbes, by contrast, did away with mind, asserting that only matter exists. The mind is the brain, and thoughts are just material motions in the brain. As material, these thoughts can resemble and thus represent material bodies. Thoughts can act to cause bodily motions in response to sensory stimuli, which are themselves material motions. Thus, Hobbes's monistic materialism also does away with mind-body problems.


3.8 The way of ideas and the self.

Two further lines of influence can be traced to Descartes, one stemming from the Cartesian theory of knowing by way of representative ideas, the other from the Cartesian cogito. The first is rooted in Galileo's distinction between real, or primary, properties of bodies--size, shape, position, and motion or rest, all of which are quantitative--and sensible, or secondary, properties--colours, tactile feelings, sounds, odours, and tastes--said to exist only in the mind. As Descartes's theory of light shows and as Locke later specified, secondary properties of bodies are only distinctive arrangements of primary properties that act on sense organs, causing sensible ideas in the mind. Locke thought that the sensible ideas of size, shape, position, and motion or rest resemble material objects as they are. (Modern science is based on mathematical descriptions of such primary properties.) But one might again object that, because all ideas are mental, none can resemble material objects. How does one know that ideas represent bodies? As stated above, Berkeley's phenomenalism--that only minds and sensible ideas exist--is one heroic solution to this skeptical problem: Bodies are known directly because they are made of sensible ideas. The Scottish philosopher David Hume took this solution one step further by saying that minds also are nothing but collections of ideas. Building on Hume in the 20th century, the English philosophers G.E. Moore and Bertrand Russell, the German positivists Moritz Schlick and Rudolf Carnap, and the Austrian-born Ludwig Wittgenstein called sensible ideas sense data, out of which they made logical constructions of the world. The German philosopher Edmund Husserl attempted to establish a science of phenomenology by describing sensible ideas. Russell and the American pragmatist William James suggested constructing both mind and matter out of neutral monads. All of these systems stem from the Cartesian way of ideas. (see also  cogito, ergo sum, primary quality, secondary quality, sense-datum, neutral monism)

The second line of influence derives from the Cartesian cogito, with its roots in the Neoplatonic philosophy of St. Augustine. Stress on the self or ego is behind the developmental idealism of the German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel, who envisioned a World Soul coming to consciousness. Focus on the being of the self by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger led to the existentialism of the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, who argued that each individual chooses to come into being out of nothingness. Sartre also upheld the Cartesian position that the self is conscious by denying the unconscious proposed by the Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.


3.9 Contemporary influences.

Some aspects of Cartesian metaphysics are still strongly defended in the 20th century. Like Descartes, the American linguist Noam Chomsky argues that all human beings have an innate ability to learn language that distinguishes humans from all other animals. The Australian physiologist John C. Eccles and the English primatologist Wilfred E. Le Gros Clark postulate the mind as a nonmaterial entity. The British philosopher Karl Popper proposes a dualism between the material and the ideational.

The strongest 20th-century attack on Cartesian dualism was launched by the British analytic philosopher Gilbert Ryle in The Concept of Mind (1949), where he exposes what he describes as the fallacy of the ghost in the machine. He argues that the mind--the ghost--is simply the intelligent behaviour of the body. Like many contemporary analytic philosophers, Ryle maintains that metaphysical questions about being and reality are nonsense because they include reference to empirically unverifiable entities. His position, like that of the Australian philosopher J.J.C. Smart, is ultimately materialist: The mind is the brain. The American pragmatist Richard Rorty in Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979) argues that the Cartesian demand for certain knowledge by way of representative ideas is a holdover from the mistaken quest for God. Rorty says that philosophy in the Cartesian tradition is the 20th century's substitute for theology and should, like God, be gently laid to rest.

Descartes's influence is so pervasive, however, that all Western philosophers, even when they deny Cartesianism, can be said to be Cartesians, as they can be said to be Greeks; their positions are necessarily responses to issues posed by Descartes. Descartes also stands at the beginning of modern mathematics; through his invention of analytic geometry, he laid essential ground for the invention of the infinitesimal calculus by Newton and Leibniz. Cartesian method was brilliantly elaborated by the Jansenists Pierre Nicole and Arnauld in logic and grammar texts that are fundamental to linguistics. Hume's distinction between fact and value issued from the elevation of the mathematically objective over the emotional and subjective. Descartes's skeptical, mathematical method underpins modern science; his rationality forms modern Western consciousness; and his intense desire to control mind and matter corresponds to the ultimate secular goal of contemporary science and society. This stress on mastery of nature, including man, has led to the contemporary sense of "Cartesian" as standing for everything that is crassly materialistic, logical, unfeeling, and inhuman in science, technology, and society. Descartes himself said that he wanted only to serve humanity.

프랑스의 철학자 르네 데카르트의 저작에서 나온 철학적·과학적 전통.

데카르트주의 체계

근본원리면에서 데카르트주의는 합리론적·플라톤적이며 따라서 이성은 본유관념에서 확실한 지식을 이끌어낸다고 주장한다. 이 주장은 모든 지식이 개연적(蓋然的)이고 감각경험에 바탕을 두고 있다는 경험론적·아리스토텔레스적 견해와 대립한다. 그러나 다른 한편으로 데카르트주의자는 경험론자와 마찬가지로 관찰과 실험을 바탕으로 하여 개연론적 과학관을 발전시켰다. 데카르트주의자들이 과학의 불확실성에 만족할 수밖에 없었던 까닭은 신은 전능하고 신의 의지는 완전히 자유롭다고 믿었기 때문이다. 이러한 믿음에서 물질세계뿐 아니라 수학의 진리와 자연법칙 등의 모든 진리를 창조한 신이 무한한 지성과 자유의지가 있기만 하면 모순조차도 참으로 만들 수 있다는 결론이 나온다. 이와 대조적으로 인간 지성은 유한하다. 따라서 인간은 '코기토'(cogito)와 계시종교에 대해서만 확신을 가질 수 있다. 그러나 데카르트주의자들은 로마 가톨릭 교회처럼 종교적 지식에서 과학의 진리를 이끌어내지는 않았다. 따라서 실제로 그들은 과학지식을 불확실하고 개연적인 것으로 받아들일 수밖에 없었다.

데카르트주의자들은 세계가 정신물질이라는 2개의 유한실체로 이루어져 있다는 형이상학적 이원론을 주장했다. 정신의 본질은 자기의식적인 사유이고 물질의 본질은 3차원의 연장(延長)이다. 신은 필연적 실존을 본질로 하는 제3의 무한실체로서 정신과 육체를 결합하여 제4의 복합실체인 인간을 만든다. 인간은 본유관념을 사유함으로써 정신·물질·신에 대한 일반지식을 갖는다. 그러나 인간은 세계 안에서 일어나는 사건들에 대한 특수한 지식을 얻을 때는 감각기관에서 신경을 거쳐 두뇌로 전달되어 지각가능한 관념이 정신 속에 일어나도록 하는 운동들에 의존한다. 이처럼 데카르트주의자들은 정신 안에 존재하는 지각가능한 관념들에 의해 외부세계를 알 수 있다고 주장했다.

이러한 정신과 물질의 이원론은 인과적 상호작용과 앎에 관한 심각한 문제를 낳는다. 인간이 정신과 물질이라는 본질적으로 다른 2개의 실체로 이루어진 복합실체라면, 육체는 어떻게 정신이 지각가능한 관념들을 갖도록 할 수 있는가, 정신은 어떻게 육체가 움직이도록 할 수 있는가, 정신은 어떻게 감각가능한 정신적 관념들에 의해 물질세계를 알 수 있는가 등이다. 데카르트주의 철학은 이러한 문제들에 대해 서로 다르게 답하면서 여러 노선으로 발전했다.

4 Major Works


The history of the original works and their early translations into English is as follows: Musicae Compendium (written 1618, published 1650); Renatus Des-Cartes Excellent Compendium of Musick (1653); Regulae ad Directionem Ingenii (written 1628, published 1701); Le Monde de Mr Descartes; ou, le traité de la lumière (written 1633, published 1664); Discours de la méthode pour bien conduire sa raison, & chercher la verité dans les sciences. Plus la dioptrique; les meteores; et la geometrie (1637; A Discourse of a Method for the Wel-guiding of Reason, and the Discovery of Truth in Sciences, 1649); Meditationes de Prima Philosophia (1641; and its 2nd ed., with Objectiones Septimae, 1642; Six Metaphysical Meditations; Wherein It Is Proved That There Is a God, 1680); Principia Philosophiae (1644); and Les Passions de l'âme (1649; The Passions of the Soule, 1650).

Descartes's correspondence has been collected in Lettres de Mr Descartes: où sont traittées plusieurs belles questions touchant la morale, physique, medecine, & les mathematiques, ed. by Claude Clerselier, 3 vol. (1666-67); and Correspondance, ed. by Charles Adam and Gaston Milhaud, 8 vol. (1936-63, reprinted 1970). The standard edition of complete works is the multivolume Oeuvres de Descartes, ed. by Charles Adam and Paul Tannery, published several times since it appeared in 12 vol. with a supplement in 1897-1913. See it in a later edition, 11 vol. in 13 (1974-82). It includes Descartes's correspondence.

Modern translations into English, many with valuable commentaries, include such selections as The Philosophical Works of Descartes, trans. by Elizabeth S. Haldane and G.R.T. Ross, 2 vol. (1911-12, reprinted 1978); The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, trans. by John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff, and Dugald Murdoch, 2 vol. (1984-85); Descartes: Philosophical Letters, trans. and ed. by Anthony Kenny (1970, reprinted 1981); Descartes' Conversation with Burman, trans. by John Cottingham (1976); Le Monde; ou, traité de la lumière, trans. into English by Michael Sean Mahoney (1979); Treatise of Man, trans. by Thomas Steele Hall (1972); Discourse on Method, Optics, Geometry, and Meteorology, trans. by Paul J. Olscamp (1965); Principles of Philosophy, trans. by Valentine Rodger Miller and Reese P. Miller (1983); The Passions of the Soul, trans. by Stephen Voss (1989); and Descartes, His Moral Philosophy and Psychology, trans. by John J. Blom (1978).


5 Bibliography



5.1 Descartes.

GREGOR SEBBA, Bibliographia Cartesiana: A Critical Guide to the Descartes Literature, 1800-1960 (1964), is an informative bibliography covering biographical and doctrinal books and articles. See also VERE CHAPPELL and WILLIS DONEY (eds.), Twenty-Five Years of Descartes Scholarship, 1960-1984: A Bibliography (1987).


5.2 Life:

Basic biographical sources are Descartes's own works and letters. ADRIEN BAILLET, La Vie de Monsieur Des-Cartes, 2 vol. (1691, reprinted 1987), is a major source, notwithstanding its apologetic bias. ELIZABETH S. HALDANE, Descartes: His Life and Times (1905, reissued 1966), is an early modern biography; CHARLES ADAM, Vie & oeuvres de Descartes: étude historique (1910), was published as part of the above-mentioned edition of complete works. See also GUSTAVE COHEN, Écrivains français en Hollande dans la première moitié du XVIIe siècle (1920, reprinted 1976); CORNELIA SERRURIER, Descartes: l'homme et le penseur (1951; originally published in Dutch, 1930); JACK R. VROOMAN, René Descartes: A Biography (1970); JONATHAN RÉE, Descartes (1974); and LEON PEARL, Descartes (1977).


5.3 Philosophy:

Descartes's philosophical doctrine is studied in many works, beginning with his contemporaries and continuing into present-day scholarship. See BENEDICTUS DE SPINOZA, The Principles of Descartes' Philosophy, trans. from Latin by HALBERT HAINS BRITAN (1905, reprinted 1974); HENRI GOUHIER, Les Premières pensées de Descartes: contribution à l'histoire de l'anti-Renaissance, 2nd ed. (1979), and La Pensée métaphysique de Descartes, 4th ed. (1987); JEAN LAPORTE, Le Rationalisme de Descartes (1950); GENEVIÈVE RODIS-LEWIS, L' OEuvre de Descartes, 2 vol. (1971); MAXIME LEROY, Descartes: le philosophe au masque (1929); NORMAN KEMP SMITH, New Studies in the Philosophy of Descartes: Descartes as Pioneer (1952, reprinted 1987); WILLIS DONEY (ed.), Descartes: A Collection of Critical Essays (1967); ANTHONY KENNY, Descartes: A Study of His Philosophy (1968, reprinted 1987); and FERDINAND ALQUIÉ, Descartes, new ed. (1969), in French; HIRAM CATON, The Origin of Subjectivity: An Essay on Descartes (1973); MARGARET DAULER WILSON, Descartes (1978, reprinted 1982); E.M. CURLEY, Descartes Against the Skeptics (1978); NICOLAS GRIMALDI, L'Expérience de la pensée dans la philosophie de Descartes (1978); BERNARD WILLIAMS, Descartes: The Project of Pure Enquiry (1978); MICHAEL HOOKER (ed.), Descartes: Critical and Interpretative Essays (1978); JOHN COTTINGHAM, Descartes (1986); PETER J. MARKIE, Descartes's Gambit (1986); WILLIS DONEY (ed.), Eternal Truths and the Cartesian Circle: A Collection of Studies (1987); GENEVIÈVE RODIS-LEWIS (ed.), Méthode et métaphysique chez Descartes (1987); GREGOR SEBBA, The Dream of Descartes, ed. by RICHARD A. WATSON (1987); and THEO VERBEEK (ed.), La Querelle d'Utrecht: René Descartes et Martin Schoock (1988).

Descartes's theology and ontology are explored in ETIENNE GILSON, Études sur le rôle de la pensée médiévale dans la formation du système cartésien, 4th ed. (1975); HENRI GOUHIER, La Pensée religieuse de Descartes, 2nd rev. ed. (1972); J.-R. ARMOGATHE, Theologia cartesiana: l'explication physique de l'Eucharistie chez Descartes et dom Desgabets (1977); MARTIAL GUÉROULT, Descartes' Philosophy Interpreted According to the Order of Reasons, 2 vol. (1984-85; originally published in French, 1953); and JEAN-LUC MARION, Sur la théologie blanche de Descartes: analogie, création des vérités éternelles et fondement (1981), Sur l'ontologie grise de Descartes: science cartésienne et savoir aristotélicien dans les Regulae (1975), and Sur le prisme métaphysique de Descartes: constitution et limites de l'onto-théo-logie dans la pensée cartésienne (1986). For Descartes the scientist and mathematician, see J.F. SCOTT, The Scientific Work of René Descartes (1952, reprinted 1987); STEPHEN GAUKROGER (ed.), Descartes: Philosophy, Mathematics, and Physics (1980); DESMOND M. CLARKE, Descartes' Philosophy of Science (1982); GENEVIÈVE RODIS-LEWIS (ed.), La Science chez Descartes (1987); and WILLIAM R. SHEA, The Magic of Numbers and Motion: The Scientific Career of René Descartes (1991). Interpretative studies of Descartes's separate works include RENÉ DESCARTES, Discourse de la méthode, text and commentary by ETIENNE GILSON, 6th ed. (1987); JEAN-MARIE BEYSSADE, La Philosophie premiére de Descartes: le temps et la cohérence de la métaphysique (1979); HENRI GOUHIER, Descartes: essais sur le "Discours de la méthode," la métaphysique et la morale, 3rd ed. (1973); L.J. BECK, The Metaphysics of Descartes: A Study of the Meditations (1965, reprinted 1979); ALEXANDER SESONSKE and NOEL FLEMING (eds.), Meta-meditations (1965); FREDERICK BROADIE, An Approach to Descartes' Meditations (1970); HARRY G. FRANKFURT, Demons, Dreamers, and Madmen: The Defense of Reason in Descartes's Meditations (1970, reprinted 1987); Richard B. Carter, Descartes' Medical Philosophy: The Organic Solution to the Mind-Body Problem (1983); and AMÉLIE OKSENBERG RORTY (ed.), Essays on Descartes' Meditations (1986).


5.4 Cartesianism.

Early background analyses include NORMAN KEMP SMITH, Studies in the Cartesian Philosophy (1902, reprinted 1987), which covers the failure of rationalism from Descartes through Kant; JEAN P. DAMIRON, Essai sur l'histoire de la philosophie en France, au XVIIe siècle, 2 vol. (1846, reprinted 1970); FRANCISQUE BOUILLIER, Histoire de la philosophie cartésienne, 3rd ed., 2 vol. (1868, reprinted 1987); GEORGES MONCHAMP, Histoire du cartésianisme en Belgique (1886); JOSEPH PROST, Essai sur l'atomisme et l'occasionalisme dans la philosophie cartésienne (1907); JOSEPH BOHATEC, Die cartesianische Scholastik in der Philosophie und reformierten Dogmatik des 17. Jahrhunderts (1912, reprinted 1966); GASTON SORTAIS, La Philosophie moderne depuis Bacon jusqu'à Leibniz, 2 vol. (1920-22), and Le Cartésianisme chez les jésuites français au XVIIe et au XVIIIe siècle (1929); GENEVIÈVE RODIS-LEWIS, Le Problème de l'inconscient et le cartésianisme, 2nd ed. (1985); THOMAS M. LENNON, JOHN M. NICHOLAS, and JOHN W. DAVIS (eds.), Problems of Cartesianism (1982); E.J. DIJKSTERHUIS et al., Descartes et le cartésianisme hollandais (1951); ALBERT G.A. BALZ, Cartesian Studies (1951, reprinted 1987); GILBERT RYLE, The Concept of Mind (1949, reprinted 1984), a critique of Cartesian dualism as a springboard for the presentation of doctrines of contemporary linguistic philosophy and philosophy of mind; and RICHARD RORTY, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979).

Development of Cartesian physics is studied in PAUL MOUY, Le Développement de la physique cartésienne, 1646-1712 (1934, reprinted 1981); EDWIN ARTHUR BURTT, The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science (1932, reprinted 1980); and E.J. AITON, The Vortex Theory of Planetary Motions (1972). Interpretive scholarship is offered in ARTHUR O. LOVEJOY, The Revolt Against Dualism, 2nd ed. (1960), a study of reactions against Cartesian metaphysics; JOHN S. SPINK, French Free-Thought from Gassendi to Voltaire (1960, reissued 1969); NOAM CHOMSKY, Cartesian Linguistics (1966, reprinted 1983), a historical exposition combined with the important claim that Cartesian rationalism is the best general guide to the study of the language-originating mind of man; LEONORA COHEN ROSENFIELD, From Beast-Machine to Man-Machine: Animal Soul in French Letters from Descartes to La Mettrie, new and enlarged ed. (1968), an exploration of whether animals have souls, showing Descartes's important influence on modern physiology; HENRI GOUHIER, Cartésianisme et augustinisme au XVIIe siècle (1978); RICHARD H. POPKIN, The History of Scepticism from Erasmus to Spinoza, rev. and expanded ed. (1979); and RICHARD A. WATSON, The Breakdown of Cartesian Metaphysics (1987). (R.A.W.)



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