By Stephen Menn
This e-book is the 1st systematic learn of Descartes' courting to Augustine. It bargains a whole reevaluation of Descartes' concept and as such should be of significant value to all historians of medieval, neo-Platonic, or early sleek philosophy. certain positive aspects contain a analyzing of the Meditations, a complete old and philosophical creation to Augustine's idea, a close account of Plotinus, and a contextualization of Descartes' mature philosophical venture.
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Extra info for Descartes and Augustine
4 But Augustine's deeper and more subtle contributions were not on matters of controversial theology. He had attempted to think through the Christian faith, to pass from faith to understanding, and thus to extract the intellectual content of the faith. 4 See Henricus Denzinger, Enchiridion Symbolorum, Definitionum et Declarationum de Rebus Fidei et Morum (Freiburg: Herder, 1937), article 173a, and following through article 200b. 22 DESCARTES PROJECT FOR A NEW PHILOSOPHY The body of philosophical doctrine that later thinkers will take to be axioms of all Christian philosophy is in fact (at least for the Latin West) the work of Augustine.
Thereupon, doubting whether he was dreaming or meditating, he awoke without emotion: and continued with open eyes the interpretation of his dream on the same idea. By the Poets gathered together in the Anthology he understood Revelation and Enthusiasm, with which he did not despair of seeing himself favored. By the piece of verse Est et Non, which is the Yes and No of Pythagoras, he understood Truth and Falsehood in human knowledge and the profane sciences. Seeing that the application of all these things would succeed so well on his behalf, he was bold enough to persuade himself that it was the Spirit of Truth who had wished to open the treasures [or treasuries] of all the sciences to him by this dream.
It would not be enough to criticize Aristotle; it was necessary to surpass him, and his achievement was vast. If some new philosophy were to replace Aristotle's, it would have to be at least as systematic and scientific, at least as compatible with Christianity, at least as practically productive for empirical research and for morality. Mersenne judged the available "new philosophies" by these standards, and not unreasonably found them wanting; he chose to remain with Aristotle for the time being, while continuing to encourage those who might turn out to be the new Christian Aristotle for the modern age.