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Pierre Bayle's Cartesian Metaphysics

Rediscovering Early Modern Philosophy

By Todd Ryan

Routledge – 2009 – 238 pages

Series: Routledge Studies in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy

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    978-0-415-53863-3
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Description

In his magnum opus, the Historical and Critical Dictionary, Pierre Bayle offered a series of brilliant criticisms of the major philosophical and theological systems of the 17th Century. Although officially skeptical concerning the attempt to provide a definitive account of the truths of metaphysics, there is reason to see Bayle as a reluctant skeptic. In particular, Todd Ryan contends that Bayle harbored deep sympathy for the attempt by Descartes and his most innovative successor, Nicolas Malebranche, to establish a metaphysical system that would provide a foundation for the new mechanistic natural philosophy while helping to secure the fundamental tenets of rational theology. Through a careful analysis of Bayle’s critical engagement with such philosophers as Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke and Newton, it is argued that, despite his reputation as a skeptic, Bayle was not without philosophical commitments of his own. Drawing on the full range of Bayle’s writings, from his early philosophical lectures to his final controversial writings, Ryan offers detailed studies of Bayle’s treatment of such pivotal issues as mind-body dualism, causation and God’s relation to the world.

Reviews

"Throughout, the theses of the book are clearly and cogently argued." -- Thomas M. Lennon, The University of Western Ontario, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Highly recommended -- S. Young, McHenry County College, Choice

"…all who cherish the philosopher of Rotterdam will appreciate the feast of argument provided by Ryan's excellent book." --Robert Sparling, Journal of the History of Philosophy

Contents

Abbreviations and Editions

Preface

Introduction

1 Bayle and Cartesianism

2 Mind-Body Dualism

3 Critique of Lockean Superaddition

4 The Problem of Causation

5 Leibniz and the Pre-established Harmony

6 Spinoza’s Monism

7 Mechanism and Natural Theology

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Author Bio

Todd Ryan is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Trinity College, Connecticut, USA.

Name: Pierre Bayle's Cartesian Metaphysics: Rediscovering Early Modern Philosophy (Paperback)Routledge 
Description: By Todd Ryan. In his magnum opus, the Historical and Critical Dictionary, Pierre Bayle offered a series of brilliant criticisms of the major philosophical and theological systems of the 17th Century. Although officially skeptical concerning the attempt to provide a...
Categories: History of Philosophy, Modern Philosophy (16th Century-18th Century)