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Descartes And The Last Scholastics: Objections And Replies

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Chapter Summary

For most readers of Descartes, the topic of Descartes' relations with the scholastics brings to mind his disparaging comments about the philosophy he was taught. The attitude toward scholastic education in philosophy displayed in some of his correspondence more nearly represents his own views on the matter. The letter to the anonymous correspondent about his son's education provides one with a something of a corrective for interpreting Descartes' more negative views about scholastic education. Another letter written about the time of the publication of the Discourse also casts doubt upon the reliability of any literal reading of that work. A final spasm of opposition to Descartes' work occurred during the early 1700s. Descartes won some early battles by seeming to defy authority and lost others when trying to identify himself with conventional authorities. After his death, he finally won the war, perhaps by persuading others with his reasons.

Keywords: Descartes; philosophy; scholastic education



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