Archive for January, 2003

Jan 15 2003

Cogito, Ergo Sum

Published by Brian under philosophy, reviews

review by Brian Charles Clark

Cogito, Ergo Sum: A Life of Rene Descartes
by Richard Watson
Pubisher: David R. Godine

Cogito, ergo sumRené Descartes’ life and times have been gone over with a fine tooth comb. Within a few decades of his death, in 1650, the first biography appeared: La Vie de Monsieur Des-Cartes (1691). A steady stream of biographies have appeared since then-though none, as Richard Watson points out in his amusing, contentious, and contemplative new biography, have offered much in the way of new information. Rather, biographers have tended to tender theories about how or why Descartes did thus or such, and especially as to why Descartes was (or still is) a Great Man.

Watson takes a different tack: he writes as a skeptic, placing the Great Man theories in doubt. As well they should be, of course: Descartes did contribute to the formation of modern science and analytical philosophy, but got things off on the wrong foot with his silly notion of a mind and a body the twain of which shall never meet. Continue Reading »

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