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Rationalism, Platonism and GodA Symposium on Early Modern Philosophy$
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Michael Ayers

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264201

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264201.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 06 April 2020

Plato’s Sun and Descartes’s Stove: Contemplation and Control in Cartesian Philosophy

Plato’s Sun and Descartes’s Stove: Contemplation and Control in Cartesian Philosophy

Chapter:
(p.15) 2 Plato’s Sun and Descartes’s Stove: Contemplation and Control in Cartesian Philosophy
Source:
Rationalism, Platonism and God
Author(s):

JOHN COTTINGHAM

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197264201.003.0002

This chapter examines contemplation and control in Cartesian philosophy and sets out some of the Platonic strands in Descartes’ cosmology, metaphysics and moral theory. It argues that Descartes’ philosophy is deeply imbued with ancient and medieval views of humanity’s place in the divine order, and yet is also the harbinger of a modern conception of a value-neutral and impersonal natural universe. It considers the tension between Descartes’ natural philosophy and account of physical law and suggests that these two mindsets represent a certain opposition within people’s thinking that still needs a resolution.

Keywords:   Cartesian philosophy, cosmology, metaphysics, moral theory, contemplation, control, divine order, natural philosophy, physical law

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