In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BOOK REVIEWS 407 conclusions, and bibliographical guides for almost every moot point in the study of Descartes . This is a work of total coverage, exhaustive in both intent and detail. It is important to have such studies on major philosophical figures as guides for examining a philosopher 's entire milieu and works in one place. Rodis-Lewis has completed her monumental task in the best tradition of critical scholarship. No one will agree with all that she says on Descartes, and some part of the value of her book comes from the fact that many students will disagree with details throughout. The first part of L'~Euvre de Descartes is organized around the theme "La Recherche de la V~rit6," the title of the series in which it appears under the general editorship of M. Georges Davy. The first four chapters are: Formation et vocation du jeune Descartes, Neuf anndes d'exercice en la m&hode, La Mdtaphysique du 1629 et les fondements de la physique, and Des 'Essais' aux 'Principes'. Part Two treats of "Le Fondement de la Vdrit6." Chapter 5 through the Conclusion are: Du Doute au premier principe indubitable, Des IdLes a Dieu, Mon corps et les corps, and La Sagesse cart6sienne. In the Introduction Rodis-Lewis remarks that although one might read each of Descartes ' works as though ignorant of what he wrote later, as Alqui6 suggests, it is surely legitimate to see in later works completed positions that are anticipated in the earlier works. Her own approach is eclectic as is proper for an historian who must analyze as well as synthesize, who must search for a true interpretation both by the order of reasons and the order of historical progression. Proceeding with care, Rodis-Lewis provides few surprises . Her conclusions are basically traditional and basically sound. Remarking on the openness of the Cartesian search for truth, Rodis-Lewis leaves the search open, quoting Koyr~: "C'est une joie inteUectuelle de 'relire Descartes, et on n'a jamais fini d'interpr&er ces textes, tellement ils sont riches et denses'" ~. 14). RICaARDA. WATSON Washington University Discours de la connoissance des bestes. By Ignace-Gaston Pardies. Edited and with an Introduction , Bibliography, and Index by Leonora Cohen Rosenfield. (Reprint of edition published in Paris, Chez Sebastien Mabre-Cramoisy, 1672). Texts in Early Modern Philosophy. (New York; London: Johnson Reprint Corp., 1972. Pp. xlii + [vii] + 239 + vii) In her excellent introduction, Professor Rosenfield speaks of the clarity and the eloquent tone of Pardies' book, and of his scientific objectivity. The Discours is an archetype of the kind of analytic writing that gave French its reputation as the perfect language for the expression of precise philosophical distinctions. The Cartesian thesis that animals are soulless machines is nowhere better explained than by this critic of Cartesianism. Pardies proposes a substantial form as the material principle that allows animals to have sensible--but not intellectual--knowledge. He admits that we do not have complete understanding of the nature of this material soul, but argues cogently that it must exist as that which we know makes living animals more than machines, but which alone makes animals less than human . What will strike readers today is the almost total absence of quaintness in Pardies' text. Except for some dubious or erroneous historical and scientific illustrations, it might well have been written in the twentieth century. Pardies has clear notions of what we call the reflex arc and the conditioned reflex. He comprehends what is now known as the autonomous nervous system. He recognizes that much complex animal behavior is instinctual. And he pinpoints the difference between humans and other animals on the issue of selfconsciousness , on the ability to know intellectually that one knows. Only when one can reflect on himself and his experience can he truly think, remember the past, anticipate the 408 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY future, and act for an end. Machines can move according to design, mere animals can act spontaneously, but only man can act reflectively. Pardies did not convince all his readers that he was offering a serious alternative to the Cartesian view that animals are machines. Many thought that to prefer a material principle or soul to support sensible knowledge...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 407-408
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.