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224 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY time of his life, "full of enthusiasm.") The basic faith of this enlightenment was the Augustinian-Platonic doctrine that the inner light of divine grace and of nature makes it possible for passionate human beings, despite the depravity of their wills, to experience a transformation of their "affections" into the love and knowledge of Perfect Being. Such dispassionate, intellectual love of Perfect Being was being preached in popular form, not to learned humanists, as the "simple", most direct "method" of attaining salvation. This language and this faith crops out repeatedly and emphatically in the Meditations, and Descartes does not hesitate to use the technical, theological terms of this pietist faith. Northern France and the Low Countries were full of this kind of "illuminism": The Port Royal School, Pascal, Jansen, Ramus, F~nelon, and the Devotio Moderna--all contributed to the pietist and quietist movements. The three years which Descartes spent with the Oratorians of Paris certainly must have exposed him to this environment, and the Holland in which he and Spinoza lived was headquarters for both the Catholic and the Protestant wings of such enlightenment. In these Meditations Descartes is explicit in regarding the "light of nature," by which man sees the truth, as the gift of God's grace and as a reflection or "likeness" of the divine perfection of the Creator. His concept of Perfect Being and his use of it as "indubitable" is not based on the traditional ontological argument, though it is a modification of this argument, but on the current religious faith and love that was common in his own day and environment. Professor Broadie's detailed exposition of the doctrine in Descartes' own terms shows how it was possible for Descartes to accommodate it to such innovations as res cogitans, as well as to unorthodox uses of "substance," "formal reality," and other Cartesian concepts. And Descartes' use of "archetypes," at a critical juncture in the argument, and other concepts borrowed from current schools, these all provide further illustrations of his use of the new theologies and philosophies. This orientation of the Meditations is, of course, familiar historical knowledge, but it seems to be neglected or even discounted as though it were irrelevant. It has become irrelevant, but it is not irrelevant for anyone who, like Professor Broadie, tries to explain the way in which Desecartes doubted and believed. It also may be a lesson to US: it is easier to prove that we exist than that we are not being deceived even by the best of beings. HERBERT W. SCHNEIDER Claremont, California Locke and the Compass of Human Understanding: A Selective Commentary on the Essay. By John W. Yolton. (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1970. Pp. x+234. $10.00) ' Professor Yolton examines Locke's Essay in terms of its threefold division of the sciences, its closing account of "the compass of human understanding" (IV. xxi). Thus his first five chapters provide an account of the Essay's dealings with "natural philosophy "; the next three and the final one covering "ethics" and "logic." But even if we try to see the Essay as informed by this plan the "prolixity and disorganisation" is, as Yolton says, "still there"; my understanding did not "greatly profit" from the arrangement of this commentary (p. 2). More specifically I was not persuaded that if we approach Locke in this way "In particular, his relations with the physical science of his day can be clearly seen" (p. 2). We surely do not need to wait for Locke to tell us in his last chapter that "the nature of things, as they are in themselves" is one BOOK REVIEWS 225 of the divisions of the sciences before we can fully realise that he must have some relation with the physical science of his day and that much of his epistemology has been concerned with it. It is not, however, as though Yolton does not help us to understand that relationship and concern. It is only that the undoubted interest of this book, which will command the attention of anyone with more than a superficial interest in Locke, stems in no way from its structure. One main claim which...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 224-227
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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