The Critical Reception of Cartesian Physiology in Tommaso Cornelio’s Progymnasmata Physica
This article highlights certain key moments in the dissemination of Cartesianism in Naples in the 17th century. It focuses, in particular, on the Progymnasmata physica (1663), written by Tommaso Cornelio (1614–1684), who derived a great deal of his conceptions of physics and physiology from Descartes. Although precise references to Descartes’ texts are thin on the ground, we hypothesize that Cornelio was familiar with L’Homme, probably also on the basis of the fifth part of the Discours de la méthode, in which, as is well known, there is a summary and a completion of the treatise that Descartes declined to publish. Finally, we stress the critical aspects of Cornelio’s reception of Cartesianism and the fact that he introduces the novelty of Cartesian teachings and positions to a wider context.