New Studies in the Philosophy of Descartes: Descartes as Pioneer

By Norman Kemp Smith | Go to book overview

Appendix B
DESCARTES' ENCOUNTER WITH CHANDOUX, AND SUBSEQUENT INTERVIEW WITH CARDINAL DE BÉRULLE

(Translated from Baillet Vie de Descartes, Bk. II, chap. xiv, pp. 160-66)1

A FEW days after M. Descartes' arrival in Paris [in November 1628] a number of learned and curious people met at the house of the Papal Nuncio. As the Sieur de Chandoux was to expound certain novel views on philosophy, the Nuncio had been anxious to provide him with a worthy audience. Chandoux was an intelligent man; he professed medicine and was specially versed in chemistry.2 He was one of those emancipated spirits, fairly numerous in Cardinal Richelieu's day, who were seeking deliverance from the yoke of Scholasticism. His aversion to the philosophy of Aristotle and the Peripatetics was as decided as that of a Bacon, a Mersenne, a Gassendi or a Hobbes. Though these latter might have greater capacity, more force and comprehensiveness of mind, he was yet their equal in the courage and resolution required in the opening out of a new path, and in pioneering, self- reliantly, in search of the principles of a new philosophy. As his gifts of bold and engaging statement had gained him access to men of high position, whom he was wont to dazzle by showy trains of reasoning, he had succeeded in securing the favour of a number of men of good standing.

Thus, for many years, he had been entertaining the curious with hopes of a new philosophy, making claims which could be justified only if its principles were indeed based on unshakeable foundations; and to the Nuncio, in

____________________
1
Cf. above, p. 23.
2
Chandoux's chemical studies ultimately led to his downfall. He was convicted of passing counterfeit coin, and suffered death by hanging.

-40-

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New Studies in the Philosophy of Descartes: Descartes as Pioneer
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Bibliography vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Contents xi
  • Chapter I 2
  • Appendix A DESCARTES' THREEFOLD DREAM 33
  • Appendix B DESCARTES' ENCOUNTER WITH CHANDOUX, AND SUBSEQUENT INTERVIEW WITH CARDINAL DE BÉRULLE 40
  • Chapter II 48
  • Chapter III 84
  • Chapter IV 102
  • Chapter IV Descartes' Universal Physics as Outlined in His Traité De La Lumière 103
  • Chapter V 124
  • Chapter VI 138
  • Chapter VII 162
  • Chapter VIII 190
  • Chapter IX 220
  • Chapter X 259
  • Chapter XI 294
  • Chapter XII 308
  • Chapter XIII 322
  • INDEX OF PROPER NAMES 365
  • INDEX OF SUBJECTS 367
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