Clarke D.M. Descartes: A Biography. 2006.
Clarke D.M. Descartes: A Biography. - New York, "Cambridge University Press", 2006. - 520 p.
Ren´e Descartes is best remembered today for writing I think, therefore I am, but his main contribution to the history of ideas was his effort to construct a philosophy that would be sympathetic to the new sciences that emerged in the seventeenth century. To a great extent he was the midwife to the Scientific Revolution and a significant contributor to its key concepts. In four major publications, he fashioned a philosophical system that accommodated the needs of these new sciences and thereby earned the unrelenting hostility of both Catholic and Calvinist theologians, who relied on the scholastic philosophy that Descartes hoped to replace. His contemporaries claimed that his proofs of God’s existence, in the Meditations, were so unsuccessful that hemust have been a cryptic atheist, and that his discussion of scepticism served mainly to fan the flames of libertinism. Descartes died in Stockholm in obscurity but soon became one of the most famous philosophers of the seventeenth century, a status that he continues to enjoy today. This is the first biography in English that addresses the full range of Descartes’ interests in theology, philosophy, and the sciences and that traces his intellectual development through his entire career.Desmond M. Clarke
is Professor of Philosophy at the National University of Ireland, Cork. He received a D.Litt. from the National University of Ireland, was Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, and has been elected to the Royal Irish Academy. He is the author of a number of books on Descartes and the seventeenth century, most recently Descartes’s Theory of Mind.