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Title: Descartes and education : risk and reception, 1637-48
Author: Templeman, Jon
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis discusses Descartes' conception and negotiation, in the period from 1637 to 1648, of the responsibilities arising from teaching. His concerns spring particularly from the teaching of sceptical arguments, and from his efforts to maintain his project's integrity as his followers take it up. My argument is twofold: that such responsibilities were a persistent and prominent concern through this crucial period in his career, and that they offered terms of criticism within which major early responses to his work, friendly and hostile, were formulated. In Chapter 1, I show how these concerns shape the Principia. Chapter 2 argues that Descartes' conception of his responsibilities are rooted in a widespread early modern conception of the risks of scepticism, and that they are visible, within the Discours, in his remarks about exemplarity and publication, as well as in the actual business of publishing the text. In Chapter 3, these concerns are linked to a positive conception of the gains Descartes hoped to secure for his students against pressures within Aristotelianism. Finally, in Chapter 4, I show that Descartes' critics mobilise this understanding to frame early attacks on the interactions between Cartesianism and existing scholastic institutions. In closing, I suggest three directions in which to develop historiographical issues raised in the thesis.
Supervisor: Scholar, Richard ; Morris, Katherine Sponsor: University of Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History of ideas ; Descartes ; scepticism ; education ; Utrecht