Larry M. Jorgensen Skidmore College. philosophy. Educated in Jesuit schools, Descartes was well versed in Aristotelian

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1 Descartes For Christian Theology and Modern Philosophers Larry M. Jorgensen Skidmore College Introduction René Descartes ( ) was one of the pivotal thinkers in the history of philosophy. Educated in Jesuit schools, Descartes was well versed in Aristotelian Scholasticism. Descartes reports, however, being dissatisfied with his education. And so, after leaving the University, Descartes resolved to seek no knowledge other than that which could be found in [himself] or else in the great book of the world (CSM 1.115). 1 After several years of traveling and learning from different cultures, he learned not to believe too firmly anything of which [he] had been persuaded only by example and custom (CSM 1.116). Descartes turned inward: I resolved one day to undertake studies within myself too and to use all the powers of my mind in choosing the paths I should follow (CSM 1.116). It is this inward turn for which Descartes is best known. A critical turning point in Descartes s thinking occurred on the night of November 10, 1619, when he had three vivid dreams, which he believed were prompting him to develop his mathematical methods as a way of unifying the natural sciences. Among Descartes s early works, not all of which were finished or published in his life time, were Rules for the Direction of the Mind, The World, Treatise on Man, and Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One s Reason and 1 All references to Descartes s work will be to the standard English translations by John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff, and Dugald Murdoch, abbreviated CSM and followed by volume number and page number. 1

2 Seeking the Truth in the Sciences. The Discourse was published with essays on optics, meteorology, and geometry. In 1641, Descartes published his magnum opus, the Meditations on First Philosophy a six- day series of meditations that leads the meditator to knowledge of God, knowledge of the real distinction of mind and body, and a secure metaphysical foundation for physics. Descartes formalized his arguments in his 1644 work, the Principles of Philosophy, which he had hoped would become a text in the universities. His final work, The Passions of the Soul, grew out of his lengthy correspondence with the exiled Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, as she asked him to account more fully for the nature of the soul as it is in its embodied state. His philosophy attracted the interest of Queen Christina of Sweden, who asked Descartes to tutor her in philosophy. He agreed, but the lessons were at 5:00 a.m., and the cold morning air of the Stockholm winter took its toll on Descartes. He died of pneumonia on the morning of February 11, Two principal projects emerge in this survey of Descartes s life. The first is his work in geometry and natural philosophy. The second is Descartes s desire to provide natural- philosophical proofs for the existence of God and the soul. While the latter may seem rather Christian, charges of atheism were mounted against Descartes during his own lifetime. Although Descartes tried to respond to these charges, some scholars today still question the sincerity of Descartes religious commitments. While there may be some ambiguities about his position, there is no reason to suppose that Descartes s religious commitments were insincere. In what follows, I will outline Descartes s natural philosophy and his epistemology, which reveals the extent to which God is a central aspect of Descartes s system. Then I will 2

3 consider topics more specifically relevant to philosophical theology: the relation of faith and reason and his arguments for the existence of God. Finally, I will conclude with a consideration of Descartes s broader significance. 1. Natural Philosophy One of Descartes s central concerns was to establish the intelligibility of nature. In the Meditations, Descartes says that it was necessary, once in the course of my life, to demolish everything completely and start again right from the foundations if I wanted to establish anything at all in the sciences that was stable and likely to last (CSM 2.17). Descartes s stated aim is to establish lasting conclusions in the sciences. More precisely, Descartes confides to Mersenne: I may tell you, between ourselves, that these six Meditations contain all the foundations of my physics. (CSM 3.173, see also CSM 3.157) The primary intention of Descartes s epistemological and metaphysical writings is to provide a firm foundation on which physics may be pursued, which guarantees the intelligibility of the material world and a method by which we can come to know it. But Descartes recognized that his physics would raise questions for readers schooled in Aristotelian Scholasticism. He continues in his letter to Mersenne, But please do not tell people [that the Meditations contain the foundation of my physics], for that might make it harder for supporters of Aristotle to approve them. I hope that readers will gradually get used to my principles, and recognize their truth, before they notice that they destroy the principles of Aristotle. (CSM 3.173) 3

4 Aristotelian Scholasticism, the dominant tradition of his time, provided an elaborate framework within which physics and other natural sciences were pursued, including an appeal to hylomorphism (from the Greek words hyle=matter and morphe=form) in the explanations of natural events. The Scholastic hylomorphic view was that natural substances are a combination of form and matter, and the substantial forms dictated the natures and characteristic activities of the substance. So, for example, the growth of an acorn into a tree is explained in terms of the substantial form of oak- ness, which determined the growth of the seed in a particular direction, into an oak tree rather than an evergreen. Explanations in terms of forms extended also to accidental properties of objects the change from cold to hot was to be explained in terms of the acquisition of the appropriate form. Descartes objects that substantial forms do not provide an intelligible account of nature: [Substantial forms] were introduced by philosophers solely to account for the proper actions of natural things, of which they were supposed to be the principles and bases. But no natural action at all can be explained by these substantial forms, since their defenders admit that they do not understand them themselves. If they say that some action proceeds from a substantial form, it is as if they said that it proceeds from something they do not understand; which explains nothing. (CSM ) Doing physics by appealing to substantial forms is a pointless task, since it fails to provide illuminating explanations. 4

5 Instead of explanations in terms of substantial forms, Descartes sought to explain material interactions in terms only of the primary attribute of matter extension and modes of extension (size, shape, velocity, etc.). Another way to put this is that matter can be explained only by appealing to quantities, which mathematics and geometry can express. As Descartes explains: The only principles which I accept, or require, in physics are those of geometry and pure mathematics; these principles explain all natural phenomena, and enable us to provide quite certain demonstrations regarding them. (Principles II, 64; CSM 1.247) Since mathematics and geometry are the paradigm of sciences that lead to certainty, the reduction of material interactions to principles of geometry and mathematics ensures the intelligibility of physics. The resulting picture is a thoroughly mathematical and mechanistic image of the material universe. Against the Scholastic picture of matter configured by immaterial forms, we now have mere extension. Against the richer Scholastic account of causation, which included efficient causation what brings it about that an object takes a certain form and final causation the end or purpose of the object, material interactions are now explained solely in terms of efficient causation. And against the Scholastic confidence in the senses, Descartes argues for a significant appearance- reality divide. Although Descartes thought that the transition from the Aristotelian- Scholastic model of physics to a mechanistic model of physics provides for the full intelligibility of physics, it comes with a cost no longer are there internal principles accounting 5

6 for the activity of substances, no longer is there purpose embodied in natural objects, and there is now a deeper division between reality and one s common perception of the world, producing a deep division between self and world. Indeed, these costs require Descartes to supplement his account of physics with an account of divine activity, since there is now no internal principle of motion and rest, and indeed it is difficult to see what would account for motion and rest if all one could appeal to were modes of extension. And so, in the development of his physics, Descartes starts with God: God is the primary cause of motion; and he always preserves the same quantity of motion in the universe (Principles II, 36, CSM 1.240). Descartes then derives the fundamental laws of physics from God s immutability: From God s immutability we can also know certain rules or laws of nature (Principles II, 37, CSM 1.240). As Daniel Garber has argued, God enters Descartes physics to do the business substantial forms did in the Aristotelian system, as he understood it, to cause bodies to behave in their characteristic ways (Garber 200). God does this by imposing natures on bodies, which consists in their tendency to remain in the same state ( what is once in motion always continues to move Principles II, 37, CSM 1.240). And so in the end Descartes must retain at least one Scholastic element in his system a nature in the object, imposed by God and constituted by its relation to God, which accounts for the characteristic activity of the material object. Descartes plays an important role in the genesis of modern science, which shifted from an Aristotelian model to a more mathematical and mechanistic model of physics. Even so, Descartes s project of establishing the intelligibility of nature on 6

7 a metaphysical basis requires an appeal to God, and in particular to God s attribute of immutability, in order to account for the regular ordering of nature according to natural laws. Of course, one wonders whether this essential activity of God in the foundations of physics undermines the effort to render physics fully intelligible. Descartes was apparently unperturbed. He thought that God s existence and certain of God s attributes could be demonstrated by natural reason (not requiring appeal to faith or revelation). 2. Epistemology Given the significant change in thinking from the Scholastic model of physics to a more quantitative model, Descartes employed a radical approach. He begins with what he calls a method of hyperbolic doubt, which will enable us to more easily grasp the truth: Although the usefulness of such extensive doubt is not apparent at first sight, its greatest benefit lies in freeing us from all our preconceived opinions, and providing the easiest route by which the mind may be led away from the senses. The eventual result of this doubt is to make it impossible for us to have any further doubts about what we subsequently discover to be true. (Synopsis, CSM 2.9) The approach outlined in the Meditations seeks to ground our knowledge of mind and body in a particular epistemic methodology, a methodology that, if followed carefully, would reveal what is fundamental and certain, freeing us from the prejudices or false beliefs that we might bring to the project of inquiry. 7

8 The most common sources of false belief are the senses. The first meditation was designed to help the meditator withdraw from the senses. There are three stages of doubt: first, the meditator realizes that the senses have often been deceptive, as when a stick appears bent in water. Therefore, we should not put our full trust in the senses we should treat any judgments based on the senses with some suspicion. Second, the meditator recognizes that the deception could be even more systematic. Many of our very realistic dreams come to us as if they were really occurring, and our experiences right now may indeed be a mere dream. That is to say, the judgments we base on our senses may be systematically deceptive. From the inside there are no markers allowing us to distinguish true experiences from systematically false experiences. Thus, the meditator concludes that we must treat all conclusions based on sense experience as if they are false until we have a fully justifying basis for trust in the senses. Finally, Descartes raises worries that our abilities to reason may also be systematically false, since God (or an evil genius with the powers we take God to have) could be planting false ideas in our heads leading us to false conclusions even in seemingly secure inferences like those of mathematics. At the end of this series of skeptical doubts, Descartes s meditator is tossed into an abyss without a foothold or anything to grasp onto in the search for knowledge. The second meditation begins to point to the way out of this abyss. The proposition, I exist, survives the first day s doubts, since even if the meditator is being deceived by an evil genius, the evil genius must be deceiving someone. 8

9 If the meditator is thinking, being deceived, apparently sensing a world, then he must exist, even if none of his other ideas correspond to the way the world is. This is the well- known cogito argument: I am thinking, therefore I exist (CSM 1.127). Descartes concludes, after considering everything very thoroughly, I must finally conclude that this proposition, I am, I exist, is necessarily true whenever it is put forward by me or conceived in my mind (CSM 2.17). Descartes has effected a radical withdrawal from the world, and his method of knowledge must start from the inside, from the perceiver himself. The benefit of such a position is that any false beliefs that might be generated by sense perception or by a trust in another source of authority have been dispensed with. But this is a rather precarious position in the pursuit of knowledge. It is quite difficult to see how a perceiver could come to any conclusions about the outside world without any sort of bridge to that outside world, and he has already burned all of his bridges. Descartes s approach in the Meditations is to reestablish a link from mind to world, but on a stronger foundation. If he can show that an isolated perceiver has all that is needed to prove with certainty that God exists and is not a deceiver, then he can dispense with many of the doubts introduced in the First Meditation. And the knowledge of God will then provide a foundation for other sorts of knowledge claims, including knowledge of the material world. Many people who have followed Descartes thus far in the Meditations, taking seriously his invitation to meditate along with him, balk at following Descartes through his arguments for the existence of God. But stopping short here leaves us with a significant challenge: how does one come up with a criterion for knowledge 9

10 from the inside, as it were? This question initiates a renewed focus on the nature of knowledge itself at the birth of modern philosophy. 3. God There are three arguments for the existence of God given in the Meditations, but I will focus on just one of them, from the third Meditation. At this stage of the Meditations, the meditator has led us to doubt all things other than our own existence. Even this element of knowledge is shaky there is certainty in our own existence for only as long as we think of it. But this is enough to get Descartes s project started. Self- knowledge grounds all other sorts of knowledge, and this self- knowledge is not empty. It is knowledge of a being that thinks. Even if I can doubt whether I am seeing a light or hearing a noise, it is certain, at least, that I seem to see a light and hear a noise. Thus, by the end of the Second Meditation, the meditator can rely on knowledge both of his existence and of the contents of his thoughts. Whether the contents of those thoughts match with a reality external to the mind remains subject to doubt at this stage of the meditations, but Descartes does not present the meditator as doubting the contents themselves. In the Third Meditation, the meditator is confronted with the task of finding a path from self- knowledge to the knowledge of other things. Descartes notices that ideas of one and the same thing may present themselves in quite different ways: the sun is represented to us both as (a) a very small object in the sky, an idea that comes to us via (apparent) sensation, and (b) a very large object in the universe, an idea that comes to us via reasoning in astronomy. Which of the contents is to be trusted? Reason suggests the latter, but without a clear way of making the connection 10

11 between content and the thing itself, the contents alone don t provide material to go beyond self- knowledge. The idea of God is immune to this concern. In briefest form, Descartes s third meditation argument for the existence of God is as follows (from the perspective of the meditator): 1. I have an idea that could only have been generated by an infinite substance. 2. Therefore, an infinite substance exists. 3. But my idea of infinite substance just is the idea of God. 4. Therefore, God (as infinite substance) exists. There are several details to be filled in. The first premise assumes some things about the nature of causation and about the nature of thought. How is it, for example, that some ideas might simply be imaginary while others must come from an outside source? Descartes appeals to Scholastic distinctions to make his case for this, but we can simplify his argument a bit by appealing to some intuitive examples. Consider the following example: right now, I have an idea of a particular chair, an oak chair that swivels and squeaks. Why is the content of that idea so specific? What gives the idea the content that it has rather than some other content? For example, why isn t the idea about a plastic chair rather than an oak chair? Or, for that matter, why is the idea about a chair rather than an elephant? The natural response to these questions is to appeal to a certain causal process that resulted in my having that particular idea rather than another. I am having that particular idea because I am causally connected to an oak chair that squeaks. In this case, I am currently sitting in such a 11

12 chair but I could be causally connected through memory as well. But I am not currently causally related to an elephant in the same way. The content of an idea depends on the causal process that leads to my having such an idea. (Of course, I could have an idea of an elephant, but that would involve a different sort of causal story.) Descartes makes use of this sort of causal thesis in his argument for the existence of God. Recall that the meditator has only self knowledge: knowledge of himself as a thinker as well as knowledge of what ideas present themselves to him. He is alone in the theater of his mind. It may well be that the ideas he entertains were caused by himself. Given the dream argument, the meditator could simply be imagining everything, in which case the causal story for each idea ends within his own mind. But after surveying a variety of ideas, the meditator discovers one idea that must extend beyond his own mind. The idea of God as an infinite substance is not an idea that one could simply imagine. This is a controversial premise, but there is some plausibility to it. Suppose, for example, someone objects that the meditator could have come up with the idea of God by simply abstracting from his knowledge of himself, imagining in God in an unlimited way what is limited in himself. Descartes counters that we never arrive at the infinite by means of abstraction (see CSM 2.31). If we try to imagine an infinite space by means of abstracting from finite space, we simply end up with a larger finite space. On the contrary, the idea of infinite space is already presupposed by the idea of a finite space, since the idea of finite space is of a space that limits something that is unlimited. And so, quite the opposite of abstraction, in order to have an idea 12

13 of something finite, something limited, we must already have an idea of something infinite, unlimited. So, the first thing to notice is that we do have an idea of something infinite. This idea of the infinite must come from something that is itself infinite, since we cannot move from the finite to the infinite. (Causal principles operate in this way generally, Descartes observes: there cannot be more in an effect than was already contained in the total cause. What could account for the surplus?) And so, if Descartes is correct that we have an idea of the infinite, then we must give a causal account of how we came to have that idea. Although the meditator could simply be dreaming all other ideas, there is no way that the meditator could be the causal source of the idea of God, and so God himself must be the source of the idea. Hence, God exists and the meditator is not alone in the universe. With these arguments, Descartes shows that even an isolated mind has the resources to conclude that God exists. The meditator has formed a bridge from self- knowledge to the knowledge of something outside of himself. And fortunately this bridge is a particularly productive one. Since the idea of God is of a being without limits, and deception would necessarily involve some limitation, the meditator can know that God exists and is not a deceiver. This conclusion undermines the skeptical doubts of the first meditation if God exists and is not a deceiver, then we can rely on our reasoning without fear that there is a powerful being intent on deceiving us. A number of objections have been raised to this argument the idea of God seems a tenuous foundation for an argument for God s existence. Nevertheless, for Descartes, the knowledge of God forms an essential path to knowledge of everything else outside of one s own mind. Since God is not deceiving us, we can also conclude 13

14 that mind and body are distinct and that our ideas of bodies come to us from actual bodies and are not merely dream images. (The full arguments for these conclusions about mind and body are given in the Sixth Meditation.) 4. Faith and Reason Descartes s philosophy rises or falls with his arguments for God s good nature. If God were to have a deceptive nature, then there is no clear path forward for Descartes. Indeed, one way of thinking about much subsequent modern thought is to think of Descartes project ending after the second meditation. Skepticism would be difficult to avoid without the appeal to God. However, even during his lifetime Descartes was accused of atheism. (We should note that the term atheism was often used more broadly in the seventeenth century, not only as a label of those who denied the existence of God but also for those who held heterodox views about God.) How are we to make sense of this charge? With respect to Christian theology, perhaps the best way to understand Descartes s legacy is as initiating a renewed emphasis on theological rationalism from which a line can be traced to Enlightenment deism (a trajectory that is understandable, though not inevitable). Descartes was interested in demonstrating only what could be demonstrated within the bounds of human reason. He acknowledged that much of Christian theology fell outside of these boundaries, and he made no claims to be engaging in this sort of theological reflection. Rather, the theology he pursued is natural theology, the theology that falls within the reach of human reason. Descartes did not deny revelation or the Christian mysteries, but he 14

15 rarely attempted to square his system with Christian theology. (The notable exception was an attempt to pacify those who thought his conception of matter would undermine the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation.) Descartes never considered himself particularly qualified to contribute to theology. He explains: I have never become involved in theological studies except in so far as they contributed to my private instruction, nor am I conscious of having so much divine grace within me that I feel a vocation for such sacred studies (CSM 2.289). Concerning faith and reason, Descartes appears to operate on the basis of two theses. The first is a separability thesis: Separability Thesis: matters of natural philosophy can be pursued independently from matters of faith. We can see this thesis operating in several of Descartes s writings. In the Meditations, Descartes acknowledges in passing the reality of faith as a guide to our judgments But he intends to discover what is available merely via the light of nature, which is to say through the natural operations of reason. But this separability thesis depends on a consistency thesis: Consistency Thesis: whatever is discovered by the light of nature will be consistent with matters of faith. If there were concerns that natural philosophy would yield results inconsistent with theology, the two would not be separable. But, Descartes affirms their consistency: 15

16 As far as theology is concerned, since one truth can never be in conflict with another, it would be impious to fear that any truths discovered in philosophy could be in conflict with the truths of faith. (CSM 2.392; see also CSM 2.394). Descartes does not give much more argument than this for the two theses, but they are clearly in operation throughout his writings. His confidence in the consistency of truth allows him to partition off a domain of truth for study without concern for stepping on the toes of the theologians. When we look more closely, however, we can see in Descartes a continued emphasis on reason as the primary authority, even in matters of faith. He argues that the source of error is in a misuse of the will. [T]he scope of the will is wider than that of the intellect; but instead of restricting it within the same limits, I extend its use to matters which I do not understand (CSM 2.40). The remedy for this is clear: If I simply refrain from making a judgment in cases where I do not perceive the truth with sufficient clarity and distinctness, then it is clear that I am behaving correctly and avoiding error (CSM 2.41). Descartes s first readers raised concerns over this rule, especially as it relates to faith. If we are to assent only to what is clearly and distinctly perceived, and matters of faith the trinity, for example are mysterious and obscure, then it follows that we should not assent to matters of faith. After these objections were raised, Descartes added the following sentence to his synopsis of the Meditations: [I]t should be noted in passing that I do not deal at all with sin, i.e. the error which is committed in pursuing good and evil, but only with the error that occurs in distinguishing truth from falsehood. And there is no discussion of 16

17 matters pertaining to faith or the conduct of life, but simply of speculative truths which are known solely by means of the natural light. (CSM 2.11) And in his response to this objection, Descartes provides a more thorough analysis of faith. He acknowledges that in addition to the light of nature (reason), there is a light of grace, which provides reason to believe. Indeed, in terms of the function of reason, we should not regard faith and knowledge as distinct: the reasons for embracing the faith are not obscure but on the contrary are clearer than any natural light (CSM 2.105). Descartes distinguishes between the subject matter of faith, which is essentially obscure, and the formal reason of faith, which is clear. The formal reasons consists in a certain inner light which comes from God, and when we are supernaturally illumined by it we are confident that what is put forward for us to believe has been revealed by God himself (CSM 2.105). Thus, reason does not fail to function in assenting to an article of faith, and so faith can in some sense be regarded as continuous with reason. The similarity consists in this: when the intellect is confronted with a clear and distinct perception, we can only assent to it. Similarly, when confronted by the divine light of grace, we cannot but assent to the article of faith, even though the object of faith is not a clear and distinct perception. Thus, there are two sources of reason for Descartes, two lights which may lead one to assent. And both sources are already present in the Meditations, where Descartes says that In order to be free, there is no need for me to be inclined both ways; on the contrary the more I incline in one direction either because I clearly understand that reasons of truth and goodness point that way [i.e., via the natural light], or 17

18 because of a divinely produced disposition of my inmost thoughts [i.e., the light of grace] the freer is my choice (CSM 2.40). These are not to be regarded as separate faculties or in conflict with one another. Formally speaking, the assent of faith is reasonable. Descartes argues that we use our reason properly when we assent to a proposition that has become self- evident. This self- evidence can arise from one of two sources, as mentioned above, but formally speaking, the assent that consists in faith and the assent that consists in knowledge are the same. They differ only materially, in terms of the clarity of the subject matter of the proposition. This departs from the more standard conception of faith as that which is believed on the basis of authority. For Descartes, reason remains the primary authority, even in matters of faith. Faith derives from the internal operation of grace and so it operates differently than mere belief. But insofar as belief, faith, and understanding result from internal cognitive faculties, the boundaries between them could easily be blurred. Descartes would certainly maintain a category for belief (credo), which is fully distinct from understanding. Descartes says in response to Mersenne, As far as the conduct of life is concerned, I am very far from thinking that we should assent only to what is clearly and distinctly perceived. On the contrary from time to time we will have to choose one of many alternatives about which we have no knowledge, and once we have made our choice, so long as no reasons against it can be produced, we must stick to it as firmly as if it had been chosen for transparently clear reasons. (CSM 2.106) 18

19 In practical matters, Descartes recognizes that we often must make choices on the basis of probabilities. The rule we should follow, therefore, is not to wait until we have a clear and distinct perception, for we very often do not know which of two courses of action is best. He grants that even probabilities may not help, since one may not be more probably better than the other. This is what Descartes calls the lowest grade of freedom in the Fourth Meditation (CSM 2.40), and it is what we must follow in practical matters. The result of these distinctions is to divide our intellectual pursuits into three categories. First, there are those that are believed through faith alone, which include the Trinity and the Incarnation. Second, there are those that fall into the overlap in the domains of the light of grace and the natural light, questions that have to do with the faith, but can also be investigated by natural reason. Finally, there are those that have nothing whatever to do with faith, and which are the concern solely of human reasoning, which include, for example, geometry and chemistry. (Actually, he says alchemy!) The benefit of this division is the separability of these intellectual projects. Descartes does not regard himself as pursuing the first sort of project at all. Descartes was not a theologian, and he regularly distanced himself from theological questions. However, insofar as natural reason allows, he was very evidently engaged in projects of the second and third type. 5. Legacy Descartes has a complicated legacy. The trajectories of modern thought that grew out of Descartes s own philosophy are often at odds with what Descartes 19

20 might himself have thought. This is in part due to the fact that Descartes attempted a balancing act that may in the end be unstable and unsustainable. With respect to the natural world, Descartes helped initiate a new way of thinking about and investigating the natural order. The natural world is quantifiable and mechanical; the universe is like a vast and complicated machine. However, human beings are an exception to the mechanical ordering of nature. While the human body may act as a machine in all of its functions, and even many cognitive processes can be understood mechanically for Descartes, the intellect and most importantly the will cannot be subsumed by natural mechanisms. Minds affect the machine, but they are not themselves mechanical. Similarly, in respect to theology, we have seen Descartes argue for the separability of natural theology from matters of faith. This does not come at a cost to matters of faith, he thought this holds true only to the extent that matters of faith are themselves consistent with reason (even if beyond human reason). And so, just as with human beings, theology marks an exception to the norm. It is a short step from these positions to a more stark metaphysics and epistemology. Some who sympathize with Descartes s project to understand the natural order in material terms but are not persuaded by human exceptionalism these readers will emphasize the one and reject the other. Minds will become a part of the whole (as with Spinoza). Similarly, those who sympathize with his project to place human reason and knowledge on a firm foundation but for whom faith is no longer a central concern these will emphasize the rationalism to the expense of 20

21 the theology. Reason will take the central place and the role for revealed theology will become less prominent or eliminated (as with Enlightenment deists). One could, of course, emphasize the opposite sides of these issues. Those who do not wish to reduce minds to machines may instead elevate minds or conceive of all of nature as somehow minded (as Leibniz and Berkeley will do). Those who wish to emphasize faith may regard it as less clearly connected or consistent with reason (as Pascal and Bayle will do). Descartes s primary interest was to establish a robust natural science on a firm metaphysical footing. Nevertheless, he also preserved a place for the human being in an otherwise mechanical natural order, and he recognized the role of faith alongside natural reason. Bibliography A. Primary Sources Descartes, René, The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, eds. John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff, Dugald Murdoch, and (vol. 3) Anthony Kenny (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ). B. Introductory Rodis- Lewis, Geneviève, Descartes: His Life and Thought, transl. Jane Marie Todd (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998). Williams, Bernard, Descartes: The Project of Pure Inquiry (London: Routledge, 1978 and 2005). C. Advanced 21

22 Broughton, Janet and John Carriero (eds.), A Companion to Descartes (Oxford: Blackwell, 2011). Carriero, John, Between Two Worlds: A Reading of Descartes s Meditations (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009). Garber, Daniel, Descartes Embodied: Reading Cartesian Philosophy through Cartesian Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001). Menn, Stephen, Descartes and Augustine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998). Rozemond, Marleen, Descartes s Dualism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998). 22

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