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Descartes As Bricoleur

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Chapter Summary

Descartes, especially, was considered to be responsible for the division between empirically grounded philosophy, on the one hand, and rationalistic deduction from first principles, on the other. A closer look at Descartes? research practice, however, reveals this picture as dramatically simplified. In many fields of his natural philosophy, Descartes was above all an empirical researcher. While it cannot be said that the research on Descartes has neglected the topic of experience in his philosophy, it is striking that scholars in most cases only quote what Descartes wrote on experience and do not look at how he figured out experiments, worked them out and performed them in a concrete way in his scientific practice, and how he communicated about them. To better understand Descartes? weather-bricolage, the author takes a closer look at one particular account: Descartes? description of snow from the 6th Discourse of the Meteorology.

Keywords: Descartes; meteorology; natural philosophy; snow; weather-bricolage



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