Descartes at Uppsala (Review of Rolf Lindborg’s Descartes i Uppsala. Striderna om “nya filosofien” 1633–1689. [Almqvist & Wiksell, Stockholm, 1965. xvi + 367 pp.]) [1967a]
Cartesianism had a much more profound influence upon the formation of the modern scientific method and outlook than the merely episodic part too often ascribed to it by superficial historians. Not only did it inspire the greatest creative minds of the time — Huygens, Boyle, Hooke, and even Newton himself — but it had to bear the brunt of the inevitable reaction from the traditional clerical philosophy and thus helped to shield the most critical stage of the scientific expansion from further hindrances. The fight between the Cartesians and the theologians is a long and complicated process, the successive phases of which are most revealing for the mechanisms, of both intellectual and social origin, that govern the progress of scientific epistemology. Although abundant material, especially from the events in the Low Countries, has long been available for the study of this process, its full analysis is still awaiting the historian imaginative enough to attempt it. The book under review does not yet give us this analysis (this was not the author’s aim); but besides extremely valuable further material concerning little-known Swedish controversies, it contains a penetrating background study of the Dutch developments which goes a long way toward the elucidation of the major issues.
KeywordsSocial Origin Abundant Material Reidel Publishing Company Scientific Epistemology Dogmatic Philosophy
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