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694 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 35:4 OCTOBER ~997 The editions of the two works are based on all the available manuscripts, which as regards the "Ars fidei catholicae" amount to no less than fifty-four. Quite interestingly, the majority of the preserved manuscripts date from the fourteenth century. Why this comparatively pedestrian work continued to be held in such high esteem would be a question well worth looking into, but understandably the editor has refrained from addressing this issue. Due to the relatively uniform transmission of the texts the editor has been able to dispense with establishing stemmas which, according to her appraisal, would have been highly speculative. In order to give her readers an opportunity to see what a complete apparatus would amount to, Mechthild Dreyer has included two small "test passages" with complete listings of variant readings. In the editions themselves less significant variants such as nonsignificant changes in word order and obvious scribal errors have been omitted. The edition presents the two works in highly readable form, and there can be no doubt that for a long time to come Mechthild Dreyer's editions of the "Ars fidei catholicae" as well as the "Potentia est vis" will be consulted gratefully by readers of medieval philosophy and theology. LAUGE OLAF NIELSEN University of Copenhagen Roger Ariew and Marjorie Grene, editors. Descartesand His Contemporaries:Meditations, Objections, and Replies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. Pp. vii + 261. Cloth, $45.oo. Paper, $17.95. Thirteen essays, by North American, French, British, and Dutch scholars, place the Meditations in a context Descartes himself had chosen: that of the seven sets of objections and replies. In the lead essay, Jean-Luc Marion recalls that in the DiscourseDescartes asked for criticism, and that in the Preface to the Meditations he replied to two resulting objections . Marion maintains that a pattern of theses, objections, and replies fits not only the Preface and Objectionsand Replies (the latter forming a proper part of the Meditations), but also the body of the work, which should be seen as a reply to (lost, save for those of Pierre Petit) objections to the Discourse (Part Four). Marion does not describe the six Meditations as direct responses to objections, but urges readers to be alert for deepenings of the 1637 position possibly stimulated by objections. The advice is good, but Marion is in danger of overgeneralizing from the dialogic or disputational character of parts of Descartes's philosophy, and so ignoring the contemplative and inward-looking aspects of the Meditations. Peter Dear's essay on the geometrically ordered Appendix to the Second Replies uses detailed knowledge of contemporary versions of Euclid to interpret Descartes's metaphysical "postulates." He shows that geometrical postulates need not be taken as "assumptions" on a par with "axioms" (as Daniel Garber suggests on 78), but might be taken as requests to carry out a construction, so as to become convinced of some basic BOOK REVIEWS 625 truths through a kind of experience. By further elaborating on the methodologically guided practice of"meditation," Dear shows how Descartes's postulates can be read as requests to consider various objects of thought, or to undertake mental procedures, so as to become convinced of crucial tenets of Descartes's metaphysics. Stephen Menn begins from remarks (in the Fourth and Sixth Objections) on Descartes 's denial of "real qualities," and goes on to compare Descartes with the earlier scholastic Su~rez on real qualities and modes. He shows that in Su~rez's terminology, a "real distinction" is between thing and thing (res and res), and that real qualities (like color) are treated as things, while modes (like figure) are not. Menn asserts that Descartes adopted this terminology and held that sensory qualities are modes not things (res). Menn's account of Su~irez is generally accurate and informative, though Su~rez sometimes primarily, sometimes equivalently, speaks of a real quality as an entity (entitas), in addition to ares. 1 But, notwithstanding Menn's frequent use of "res" to paraphrase Descartes 087, 188, 189, 19o, 195), with the exception of passages from the Third Meditation and Fourth Replies--which focus on cold as a privation or on...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 624-626
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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