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49 ~ JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 99:3 JULY ~991 Michael G. Paulson. The PossibleInfluence of Montaigne's "Essais" on Descartes'"Treatise of the Passions." Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1988. Pp. xiii + x23. Cloth, $92.50. Paper, $1o.25 . Descartes surely read Montaigne's Essais, and they doubtless had some influence on his writings. Paulson recapitulates "the resemblances between the Essais and the Discoursde la M~thode: the doubt or scepticism therein, the 'morale provisoire', the general conservatism in their outlook on life, the 'livre du monde', and the general ideas on travel" (13). Through a survey of the secondary literature and by juxtaposing texts from Descartes and Montaigne, Paulson shows that there is "a strong possibility that Montaigne 's Essais served as a source for the Trait~ des Passions" (116). Paulson remarks that Descartes examines the passions "from a theoretical or abstract viewpoint," while Montaigne "prefers to present his reader with concrete examples taken from history" (93)" There are various instances of Descartes using examples and subjects that appear in Montaigne, but there is no instance of Descartes using Montaigne's exact words. So Paulson's thesis is as well supported as the method of putting texts treating similar material side by side allows. Paulson speaks throughout of the Trait~ desPassions when the book was published as Les Passions de l'Ame. Also, Paulson erroneously believes that the Passions was composed for Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen, whose biography he gives on p. 23, when in fact Descartes wrote for and was friends with her daughter. This rather undercuts Paulson's claim that Descartes bowdlerized the Essais "in order to make them presentable to Elizabeth Stuart" (loo). Paulson also mistakenly says that the Passions is dedicated to Elizabeth (6), when in fact it is dedicated to Queen Christina of Sweden. RICHARD A. WATSON Washington University Hiram Caton. The Politics of Progress: The Origins and Development of the Commercial Republic, i6oo-z835. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1988. Pp. xii + 627. Cloth, $49.oo. During the heyday of nineteenth-century liberalism, it was possible to believe in universal history as a science which exhibited a moral progress in human affairs. In this study Caton is proposing nothing less than "a resumption of the universal history project" based on recent work in prehistory, evolutionary biology, and related fields. Unlike Spencer's evolutionary biology, which treated behavior as a dependent variable of social institutions, Caton assumes "the conservation of behaviors on the historical time scale, that is, their resistance to extinction or creation by institutional change" (5). What are these constant behaviors? The social structure of animals is a function of reproductive strategies evolved under the constraint of scarce resources. The social structure of the human species is the family and kinship system, which is about 1.5 million years old. Political structure evolves out of social structure with the appearance of institutions. Institutions enable prodigious effects of group action without modify- ...


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