Heythrop College Publications

Cottingham, John (2017) Context, history and interpretation: the religious dimension in Descartes’s metaphysics. In: Gaukroger, Stephen, Wilson, Catherine, (eds.) Descartes and Cartesianism: Essays in Honour of Desmond Clarke. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 42-53. [Book section]

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Descartes’ philosophical outlook was shaped not just by the aspirations of the new mathematical physics that he helped create, but also by the contemplative tradition of Plato and Augustine that remained at the centre of his worldview. Giving due acknowledgement to Descartes the scientist should not lead us to downplay the role of Descartes the theistic metaphysician. Descartes’ philosophy, for all its progressive scientific aspects, is located within an overarching epistemic and metaphysical framework that acknowledges our fundamental human dependence. For Descartes, philosophical inquiry could not even begin without an implicit reliance on a stable rational order at the heart of things, and an implicit faith that what comes to us from that source will point us towards the truth.

Item Type: Book section
Keywords: René Descartes, God, Plato, Augustine, worldview, mathematical physics
Department: Philosophy
Depositing User: Vicky Rowley
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2017 10:58
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2019 21:30
URI: http://publications.heythrop.ac.uk/id/eprint/2592

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