Cartesianism


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

Cartesianism

 

a school in philosophy and natural science during the 17th and 18th centuries whose theoretical source was the ideas of the French philosopher R. Descartes (whose Latin name is Cartesius—hence the term).

Cartesianism is characterized by a consistent dualism—an extremely sharp division of the world into two independent substances—extended substance (res extensa) and the thinking substance (res cogitans). However, the problem of their mutual interaction within a thinking being remained fundamentally unresolved. Also characteristic of Cartesianism was the development of a rationalistic mathematical (geometrical) method. The self-evidence of consciousness (Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am”), as well as the theory of innate ideas, forms the starting point for Cartesian epistemology. Cartesian physics, in contrast to that of Newton, considered everything extended to be corporeal, thus rejecting the idea of empty space; it described motion with the aid of the concept “vortex.” Cartesian physics subsequently found its expression in the theory of short-range action. The development of Cartesianism was marked by two opposing trends, one toward materialistic monism, as in H. de Roi (Regius) and B. Spinoza, and the other toward occasionalism, as in A. Geulincx and N. de Malebranche.

REFERENCES

Bykhovskii, B. Filosofiia Dekarta. Moscow-Leningrad, 1940. Chapter 10.
Istoriia filosofii, vol. 1. Moscow, 1957. Pages 382–408.
Liozzi, M. Istoriia fiziki. Moscow, 1970. (Translated from Italian.)
Brockdorff, C. Descartes und die Fortbildung der kartesianischen Lehre. Munich, 1923.
Mouy, P. Le Développement de la physique cartésienne (1646–1712). Paris, 1934.
Dibon, P. Sur VHistoire de la philosophie cartésienne. Groningue, 1955.

L. A. LIAKHOVETSKII

References in periodicals archive ?
Cartesian-inspired materialistic science posits a radical otherness as "matter" (Descartes' res extensa) but does not address itself to the otherness of consciousness itself, as Husserl rightly understood; (12) in this way Cartesianism does yield a kind of irrationality.
The relative Cartesianism of the Jansenists juxtaposed to the relative sensationalism of the Jesuits certainly made political and ideological polarization more likely.
The problem with Cartesianism, however, is that he thinks it knows physics at the moment in which it only knows its own laws of physics.
When interpretation (re)turns us toward any of these - whenever, for instance, we read the inscription "I" and see in it Cartesianism's (anthropomorphized, deeply psychologized) grinning face, or read that you are an ordinary, well-rounded New Zealander who has intelligence and luck and usually a good horoscope, though no particular skill in a second language, and so know yourself and your heritage to be European-centered (rather than Pacific Islander-centered) - then the work of hegemony might be said to have been done.
Here he misses a central issue: the reception of Copernicanism, certainly in the wake of Cartesianism or the explicit involvement of religious views, does not depend on purely intellectual arguments, but rather on the general concept of what the new science may achieve, and perhaps even on a simple willingness to challenge the established order.
Benedict's analysis of the theological disputes over predestination within high Calvinism is both clear and balanced, and his coverage of the challenges that Cartesianism and the rise of biblical scholarship presented to Calvinism is welcome because it brings together material
This "new philosophy," which originated in the 1650s, came out of an influx of scientific doctrines into the city, including Cartesianism and the theories of Galileo, which were, if not adopted, assimilated by Neapolitan intellectuals: "It has been said that the city's intellectuals were too skeptical to accept wholeheartedly any one abstract theory," asserts Chenault Porter (xlvi).
Powerful currents in Platonic, Pauline and Puritan thinking, augmented by Cartesianism, have deemed the body theologically fallen -- dirty, sordid, worm-eaten, too too solid or sullied -and so inferior to nobler faculties, the soul, reason, spirit and mind.
This work was followed by a challenge to a history of Calvinism written by a leading Jesuit, a criticism of the fanciful pipedreams of the Huguenot refugees in Holland, and a critical appraisal of a collection of several writings by Bayle s contemporaries about Cartesianism. This latter publication brought him in contact with Malebranche and other important philosophers of the day.
In addition to challenging this Two-way Independence Thesis, McCulloch attacks another element of Cartesianism: the theory of ideas that holds that the mind represents the world by means of intermediate mental entities.
Great thoughts and great speech had disappeared into the medium of Cartesianism, and Aristotelian metaphysics, as he reports, had become a laughing-stock; everyone was concerned to be up-todate, instead of erudite and eloquent.