The Picture Multiple: Figuring, Thinking, and Knowing in Descartes's Essais (1637)
Abstract

Abstract:

Throughout his Essais (1637), Descartes appropriated the visual language of practical mathematics in order to forge a new natural philosophy. This article argues that by grafting geometric line onto descriptive figure, the philosopher and his illustrator, Frans van Schooten Jr., underscored doubts about a natural philosophy based on qualities, all the while situating his new epistemology in the 17th-century present and exercising a deep attention to the differences between nature seen, nature pictured, and nature understood.



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