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Descartes’s Rehabilitation of Science

  • José R. Maia Neto
Chapter
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas Archives internationales d'histoire des idées book series (ARCH, volume 215)

Abstract

Descartes pretends to establish a new model of science, immune to the kinds of objections raised by Charron and disciples, but which could overcome their skepticism. Through careful analysis of the texts, this chapter shows the close presence of Charron in the preambles of Descartes’s philosophy and that the cogito, Descartes’s first principle, supposedly immune to skeptical doubt, is mainly based on the moral Academic self-assurance of Charron’s wise man. This brings a new perspective on the source of Cartesianism, since the main source for the cogito was thought to be found in Augustine’s reply to Academic skepticism. This new interpretation reverses the case, since the Academic skeptical position is not the enemy attacked by Descartes with the cogito, but the very source of it, so that the relevant kind of skepticism for Descartes is not the object of his refutation but the main inspiration for his own philosophy. However, Charron’s skeptical Academic wisdom is only the point of departure since through hyperbolic doubt Descartes transforms the self-assurance of the Academic sage into the mind/body metaphysical distinction.

Keywords

Skeptical Argument Philosophical Principle Skeptical Challenge Intellectual Integrity Skeptical Context 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • José R. Maia Neto
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil

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