Descartes: His Life and Thought by Geneviéve Rodis-LewisDescartes: His Life and Thought by Geneviéve Rodis-Lewis

Descartes: His Life and Thought

byGeneviéve Rodis-LewisTranslated byJane Marie Todd

Paperback | October 21, 1999

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Geneviéve Rodis-Lewis is uniquely qualified to celebrate René Descartes. This major intellectual biography illuminates the personal and historical events of Descartes's life, from his birth and early years in France to his death in Sweden, his burial, and the fate of his remains. Concerned not only with historical events but also with the development of Descartes's personality, Rodis-Lewis speculates on the effect childhood impressions may have had on his philosophy and scientific theories. She considers in detail his friendships, particularly with Isaac Beeckman and Marin Mersenne. Primarily on the basis of his private correspondence, Rodis-Lewis gives a thorough and balanced discussion of his personality. The Descartes she depicts is by turns generous and unforgiving, arrogant and open-minded, loyal in his friendship but eager for the isolation his work required. Rodis-Lewis clarifies Descartes's school days, his family's circumstances and social status, the location of the famous "stove" where Descartes first discovered the foundations of his science, his military life, and the birth and death of his daughter. She is careful to point out the gaps that remain in the record of Descartes's life. Drawing on Descartes's writings and his public and private correspondence, she corrects the errors of earlier biographies and clarifies many obscure episodes in the philosopher's life.

Title:Descartes: His Life and ThoughtFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.26 inPublished:October 21, 1999Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801486270

ISBN - 13:9780801486272

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Editorial Reviews

"The appearance of Rodis-Lewis's biography is the product of a long germination: Rodis-Lewis has been working on Descartes' biography at least since her two volumes L'oeuvre de Descartes (Paris: Vrin, 1971). Her biography of Descartes clearly shows great erudition and the fundamental good interpretive sense to be derived from such massive and impressive scholarship."—Roger Ariew, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University