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BOOK REVIEWS 12 9 be seen as a "father of oneself" fantasy on a highly symbolic, but profound, plane. The sundering of organic ties between person and nature--originally experienced, as we have seen, as epistemological estrangement, as the opening up of a chasm between self and world--is reenacted, this time with the human being as the engineer and architect of the separation. Through the Cartesian "rebirth," a new "masculine " theory of knowledge is delivered, in which detachment from nature acquires a positive epistemological value. And a new world is reconstructed, one in which all generativity and creativity fall to God, the spiritual father, rather than to the female "flesh" of the world. With the same masterful stroke--the mutual opposition of the spiritual and the corporeal--the formerly female earth becomes inert matter and the objectivity of science is insured. (1o7- Io8) In closing, Bordo suggests not that the conceptual tools of modern science and knowledge should be discarded, but that they should be drawn back from their extremes by the reintroduction of " 'sympathy': in closeness, connectedness, and empathy " (t 12) presented as" 'feminine' modes of knowing" (a 14), to balance "masculine modes of detachment and clarity [by] offering models of fresher, more humane, and more hopeful approaches to science and ethics" (115). Because "gender is a social construction, rather than a biological or ontological given... [and]... the masculine model of knowledge" has "historical" origins (t 13), there is hope that "the drama of parturition" can be succeeded by reunion. RICHARD A. WATSON Washington University Desmond M. Clarke. Occult Powers and Hypotheses: Cartesian Natural Philosophy under Louis X1V. New York: Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press, 1989. Pp. 265. $64.oo. In this highly readable account of the fortunes of French Cartesianism during the period 166o to 17oo, Clarke addresses two recurrent questions which have confronted Descartes scholars: (t) what exactly was the Cartesian concept of science, and (2) how can the relationship between Descartes's philosophy and the Aristotelian philosophy of the schools best be characterized? Clarke offers a single answer to these two questions. He argues that the Cartesian concept of science, rightly understood, was largely responsible for the eventual accommodation of French scholastic philosophers to Descartes's natural philosophy following a half century of scholastic opposition to Cartesian principles . In a somewhat ironic twist of fate, Clarke notes, many Jesuit professors finally adopted a mechanistic physics as part of their regular university curriculum just when, in the early years of the eighteenth century, Newtonian physics began to be actively espoused in France as a science superior to that of Descartes. Much hinges in Clarke's history on his interpretation of the Cartesian concept of science, and he takes great care to define what he considers to be the hypotheticodeductive methodology of Descartes as well as his later exponents. He summarizes this methodology as follows: "The primary meaning of the term 'hypothesis' is some claim 13o JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 29: t JANUARY 1991 which is put forward in order to deduce other propositions from it.... When applied to the explanation of natural phenomena, the term 'hypothesis' meant any assumption which is made in the course of constructing an explanation .... However,... the ultimate explanatory principles of nature.., cannot be known directly either by experience or reason. The principles which are eventually endorsed can be known only indirectly, by their success in providing the kinds of explanations which Cartesians were willing to recognize as legitimate" (162). He then discusses various Cartesians' accounts of how their chosen hypotheses might be confirmed or disqualified through the use of observation and experiment. Central to Clarke's attribution of a hypothetico-deductive method to the Cartesians is his assertion that experience plays two quite distinct roles in their philosophy. At the level of metaphysics, their everyday experience of middle-sized physical objects provided them with the simple ideas of matter and motion with which they formulated the fundamental laws of nature. The scope of these laws set a limit to the kinds of hypotheses which were acceptable in their science. Once these limits were established, however, a second appeal to experience was made, this time requiring the design of specific...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 129-131
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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