Cartesian plasticity: The curious case of Henricus Regius

Regius was a professor of medicine at the University of Utrecht. He was much taken with the views he had read in the scientific essays accompanying Descartes’s Discours de la méthode (1637), and was
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“Last year [Henricus Regius] published a book entitled Fundamenta physicæ [sic] in which, concerning physics and medicine, it seems he has taken everything from my writings, those I have published as well as a still imperfect work on the nature of animals that fell into his hands; nevertheless, because he transcribed it poorly and changed the order, and denied certain truths of metaphysics on which all physics must be founded, I am obliged to disown the work entirely.” (Descartes, Preface to the French translation of Principia Philosophiæ, 1647) René Descartes (1596–1650) is well known to the general public as “the father of modern philosophy,” the creator of that paradigmatically modern movement, Cartesianism. By contrast Henricus Regius (Henrik de Roy; 1598–1679) is known for the most part only to dedicated specialists. Yet a consideration of the case of Regius can serve to illustrate the extent to which Descartes did not have complete control over his creation. Henricus Regius.. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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