The Primacy of L’Homme in the 1664 Parisian Edition by Clerselier
How can we understand the priority ascribed to L’Homme in the Préfaces by Clerselier and Schuyl and in the Remarques by La Forge? What are the reasons of this imbalance? What does the editor’s decision to change the title of the “second treatise” mean? Why, also, the silent attitude of La Forge on important sections of L’Homme? In other words, we wish to understand how Descartes’s specific new way of dealing with important biomedical questions, linked with philosophical implications, in L’Homme, and even more in La Description du corps humain, was concealed. Such is the relevant issue of the content of the Préfaces by Schuyl and Clerselier, and of the Remarques of Louis de La Forge for this posthumous edition of L’Homme and the “second traité”. There is a huge gap between the Préfaces and the content of L’Homme and La Description du corps humain. For instance, the words “heart” and “body” are given less importance in the Préfaces than the word “soul”, which sounds somewhat strange, not to say highly paradoxical, because this is in complete contradiction with Descartes’ writings.