Cartesian Method and the Problem of Reduction

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byEmily R. Grosholz

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Cartesian method, construed as a way of organizing domains of knowledge according to the `order of reason', was a powerful reductive tool. Descartes produced important results in mathematics, physics, and metaphysics by relating certain complex items and problems back to simpler elements thatserve as starting points for his inquiries. However, his reductive method also impoverished these domains in important ways, for it tended to restrict geometry to the study of straight line segments, physics to the study of ambiguously constituted bits of matter in motion, and metaphysics to thestudy of the isolated, incorporeal knower. This book examines in detail the impact, negative and positive, of Descartes's method on his scientific and philosophical enterprises, exemplified by the Geometry, the Principles, the Treatise of Man, and the Meditations.

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Cartesian method, construed as a way of organizing domains of knowledge according to the `order of reason', was a powerful reductive tool. Descartes produced important results in mathematics, physics, and metaphysics by relating certain complex items and problems back to simpler elements thatserve as starting points for his inquiries....

Emily R. Grosholz is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pennsylvania State University.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:170 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.71 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198242506

ISBN - 13:9780198242505

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'the fundamental thesis does capture something which is clearly at work in Descartes, and it has exactly the consequences for Descartes' work which the author explains'Desmond M. Clarke, University College, Cork, British Journal for the History of Science, 25