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Preliminary Material

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents an overview of the aim of the book and the key themes discussed in the various chapters. In this book, the author intends to revise that monograph, that is, to restate its theses more sharply and add considerable detail to its contents. The pattern of the preliminary essay is repeated throughout the volume: one moves from within Cartesian philosophy to its intellectual context in the seventeenth century, then to living philosophical debate being waged by Descartes and his contemporaries, and finally to the first reception of Cartesian philosophy, as another means with which that philosophy might be understood as it was intended. To understand what set Descartes apart both from the scholastics, one has to understand the intellectual milieu in which these reasons played a role, to see what tactical measures could have been used to advance ones views or to persuade others of them.

Keywords: Cartesian philosophy; Descartes; seventeenth century



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