Le Monde as a System of Natural Philosophy and Gambit in the Field

  • John SchusterEmail author
Part of the Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 27)


This chapter concludes the detailed analysis of Le Monde, begun in the previous two chapters. It has three main goals: Firstly, Le Monde is examined as a competitive bid for supremacy in the natural philosophical field. This is done by viewing it in relation to key natural philosophical aspirations and strategies of similar contemporary actors, such as Kepler, who, like Descartes, were attempting to displace Aristotelianism, install some version of realist Copernicanism, and create alternative hegemonic natural philosophical syntheses. Secondly, Le Monde is assessed in terms of its strengths and weaknesses as a system of natural philosophy, using the model of natural philosophical systematicity developed in  Chap. 2. Finally, examination of the systematicity of Le Monde leads to some striking individual examples of refinements in that regard, as displayed by the Principia philosophiae to come.


Classical Static Central Star Natural Philosophize Optical Interface Visible Disk 
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Works of Descartes and Their Abbreviations

  1. AT  =  Oeuvres de Descartes (revised edition, 12 vols.), edited by C. Adam and P. Tannery (Paris, 1964–76). References are by volume number (in roman) and page number (in Arabic).Google Scholar
  2. SG  =  The World and Other Writings, edited and translated by Stephen Gaukroger (Cambridge,1998).Google Scholar
  3. MM  =  René Descartes, The Principles of Philosophy, translated by V. R. Miller and R. P. Miller (Dordrecht, 1991)Google Scholar
  4. MSM  =  Rene Descartes, Le Monde, ou Traité de la lumière, translated by Michael S. Mahoney (New York, 1979).Google Scholar
  5. CSM(K)  =  The Philosophical Writings Of Descartes, 3 vols., translated by John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff, and Dugald Murdoch, and (for vol. 3) Anthony Kenny, (Cambridge, 1988) References are by volume number (in roman) and page number (in arabic).Google Scholar
  6. HR  =  The Philosophical Works of Descartes, vol I translated by E.S. Haldane and G.R.T. Ross (Cambridge, 1968 [1st ed. 1911])Google Scholar


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Campion CollegeSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Unit for History and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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