Reading Le Monde as Pedagogy and Fable

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


This chapter explicates the opening sections of Le Monde. It is particularly concerned with their non-Scholastic rhetoric and organization, given their having been written in the vernacular, in honnête hommestyle. It also explores why some core elements of the system are presented in the form of a fable. This chapter clears the ground for our further analysis of Le Monde, so that we can appreciate both the systematicity it displays, and the genealogy of some of its key concepts in Descartes’ earlier physico-mathematical strivings and results. To that end, special attention is paid to Descartes’ curious cosmogonical fable, his matter theory cumtheory of elements, and the initial delineation of the vortex theory. A number of these topics in Le Mondeare revisited in  Chap. 12, which examines their alteration and articulation in the Principia philosophiae, as part of the daring, new systematizing strategy of that mature natural philosophical text.


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Works of Descartes and Their Abbreviations

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  6. SG  =  The World and Other Writings, edited and translated by Stephen Gaukroger (Cambridge, 1998).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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