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48o JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 22:4 OCT a984 of Bayet's: in her words, "raison presents a semantic nebula: while the lexicographer like the astronomer can pinpoint and examine some of the elements, no definition can be given which is at once brief and precise and which takes account of both the diversity and the interconnections of the parts" (23). Yet, in the same paragraph, she succumbs to the temptation to provide us with a common core of the various uses: "Underlying the diverse definitions of raison is a persistent association of this word with the notion of measure and proportion." In similar fashion, at the outset (6), she says, "Individual uses need to be examined within a framework which makes it possible to distil the underlying conception to which they relate" (my italics). There is a useful Appendix containing entries for raison and cognate words from Richelet's Dictionnaire franfois, Fureti~re's Dictionnaire universel, and Le Dictionnaire de l'Acad~mie francpise. WILLIS DONEY Dartmouth College Wolfgang R6d. Descartes: Die Genese des Cartesianischen Rationalismus. Munich: C.H. Beck, 1982. Pp. 221. NP. David J. Marshall, Jr. Prinzipien der Descartes-Exegese. Munich: Verlag Karl Alber, 1979. Pp. 152. Paper, 29 DM. The original 1964 edition of R6d's Descartes was one of the best surveys of Cartesian philosophy available. Its brevity and clear prose made it suitable for undergraduate teaching. It presented an over-all interpretative thesis, which was argued consistently and well documented. The new edition enhances all these good qualities. The author has been especially diligent in canvassing the large secondary literature that has appeared in the interval, and in strengthening the documentation for his argument that the practice of mastering nature is the controlling idea of Descartes' philosophy. We note with regret that the author continued to articulate this idea in abstraction from its heroic dimension, including the battle royal with the theologians. The social dynamite contained in the Cartesian autonomy of reason ('7 think") is accordingly masked. Nevertheless, it is an excellent survey eminently suited to teaching purposes. One hopes that the publisher will bring out a translation. The title of Marshall's study refers to two principles he assumes in order to show that the texts themselves provide insufficient direction on how to extract a consistent content from abundant contradictions. The first principle discerns and distinguishes the genuine core of Cartesian philosophy from its "diplomatic facade," i.e., the scholastic paraphenalia. The principle is that inconsistencies involving a clash between a scholastic and a non-scholastic view are to be resolved in favor of the latter (17). The second principle describes a dialectic operating in Descartes' statements on mind and body. One group of statements treats them as a substantial union; the other, as distinct. Marshall regards the first group as a provisional concession to common sense or prejudice; this concession is dialectically revoked in the course of investigation (22). BOOK REVIEWS 481 These exegetical rules set the stage for an interpretation that ascribes to Descartes positions inconsistent with many texts and with most scholarly opinion. Marshall contends that in the genuine Cartesian metaphysics, there are only two substances, thought and extension. Both are eternal, uncreated, and identical with their attributes . Particular bodies are modes of extension and thought; and thought is a mode of divine substance (25, 94f.) One expects, on this basis, for Descartes to emerge with a metaphysics very like that of his great Dutch disciple. In the event, however, Marshall's Descartes was more, not less, radical than Spinoza. The identification of substance with the set of its attributes entailed for Descartes the rejection also of substance-attribute logic, and therewith the primacy of logic, including the principle of contradiction, in the order of thought (14~). Logic is demoted to the subsidiary position of mere discourse regulation, subordinate to intuition and the intuitively evident chains of mathematical analysis. However, this circumstance produced a severe tension between the terms of Descartes' exposition and his actual thought. The exposition is necessarily conducted in language, which is governed by the substance-attribute semantics, although his actual thought is intuitive-calculative. Thus, the Cogito appears to be the conclusion of an...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 480-482
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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