Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Good Life in the Scientific RevolutionDescartes, Pascal, Leibniz, and the Cultivation of Virtue$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Matthew L. Jones

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780226409542

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226409566.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use (for details see www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 19 February 2019



(p.267) Epilogue
The Good Life in the Scientific Revolution
University of Chicago Press

Seventeenth-century natural philosophers and mathematicians in France and Germany critiqued and then applied a disciplined reason to nature and mathematics. Descartes, Pascal, and Leibniz did not merely impose a disembodied pure reason onto nature, but, drawing on extant resources for civilizing and educating, attempted to apply the full range of human epistemic, physical, and social faculties to know nature. This chapter argues that in trying to understand and perfect the faculties, these seventeenth-century figures developed sundry innovations useful in scientific and mathematical work. Within their dour Christian conceptions of the fallen qualities of humankind, they worked to produce and to distribute intellectual, material, and social techniques appropriate to their wrongly universalized understanding of human greatness and wretchedness, techniques that they brought to the study of the natural world and mathematics. Instead of thinking humans divine, capable of knowing and changing the world easily, Descartes, Pascal, and Leibniz sought knowledge by humiliating humanity, and by critiquing and bracketing human ability. They sought knowledge of the world in knowing themselves. Fulfilling Socrates' old injunction required no small mathematical and natural-philosophical labor.

Keywords:   Descartes, Pascal, Leibniz, science, mathematics

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.