Rene Descartes

Born: 1596 (France)
Educated: Jesuit college; Paris
served in Dutch and Bavarian military
1629: went to Holland (more tolerant)
1646/49: became court philosopher for Queen Christina of Sweden (and her tutor in philosophy, mathematics, and science)
1650: died
Rules for the Direction of the Mind (French, 1628, unpublished)
Le Monde (not published in light of the condemnation of Galileo in 1632)
Le Discours (French: 1637: for the masses) as preface to: Optics, Meteorology, and Geometry
Dissertatio de Methodo (Latin translation: 1644)
Meditationes de Prima Philosophia (1641, in Latin, dedicated to the faculty of the Sorbonne, the divinity school of the University of Paris);
(French translation: Duc de Luynes 1642)
2nd revised edition: 1642 Significance:
“Founder of modern philosophy” (rejected scholasticism in favor of the power of individual reasoning; deductive)
Believed that faith and reason could be reconciled
Developed coordinate geometry including “Cartesian” (named for him) coordinate system (x,y axes, positive quadrant only); analytic geometry
Contributions in optics (including the wave theory of light and mathematical relations)
influenced Newton and Leibniz
Biography and summary of works and philosophy: (The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Discourse on Method/Dissertation de Methodo . . .:
(Latin text) Oeuvres de Descartes, vol. 6: Discours de la Methode. J. Vrin. Paris: Librairie Philosophique. 1965 Descartes, Rene.
Discourse on Method and Meditations. New York: MacMillan, 1960. English translation. Meditations: Oeuvres de Descartes, vol. 7. J. Vrin. Paris: Librairie Philosophique. 1973 on-line: The Latin Library(posted by David B. Manley and Charles S. Taylor at The Philosophy Department of Wright State University from the original Latin text of 1641)

Characteristics of Descartes’ Latin

Grammar and Syntax Comparatives and superlatives, including comparative clauses: (potius) quàm quam + superlative (as ___ as possible) comparative adverbs (-ius) gerunds (-nd- _____ing) sometimes + accusative object gerundives (-nd- _____ing) dative (expressing purpose) ("for ____ing") long (prepositional) gerundive phrases e.g.: ad illas commodius resolvendas passive periphrastic (gerundive -ndus, -a, -um + form of sum (+ dative)(must/has/had to be ____ed (by ___)” e.g. quae mihi erant agenda mihi esset vivendum future participle (-turus/-surus, -a, -um) + form of "sum" = (I am, etc.) going to _____ dative (present) participle sing.: (-nti): for one ____ing pl. (-ntibus): for those ______ing Perfect passive participle + (fueram etc.) pluperfect of sum (post-classical, instead of classical eram, etc.) for pluperfect passive/deponent indicative (e.g. 12 fueram ingressus) Parallel constructions, often with omissions in one of the parts. correlatives Indirect statement (subordinate clauses + subjunctive within the indirect statement) Orthography Adverbial or "secondary" uses of certain words are marked with a grave accent: *tantùm: only *quàm: than modò . . .modò: sometimes . . . sometimes; now . . . now, *verò but; but indeed *cùm (subordinating conjunction when, since, although) vs. preposition *quòd: because ferè almost, nearly -nq- = -mq- (unquam, tanquam) intelligo = intellego Word Formation adverbs in –ē, -(i)ter, –ō planē, certo, mutuo Style chiasmus (A B B A word order)


*adeo (ut): to such an extent (that) *forte: by chance *Method (nom. and gen.), Methodum (acc.), Methodo (abl.), feminine gender (from Greek): method *ne _____ quidem: not even _____ *pateo, -ere, patui (+ dat.): lie open; be open; be evident, clear *quamvis (+ subjunctive): although *quod: which; that *[id] quod: that which; what quòd the fact that; because rēvērā:really, in truth *ut (+ adjective) "as (_____)" (e.g. 76 ut dubiam; 86 ut bona) pronouns/adjectives:especially relative pronouns and interrogative adjective; īdem, ea-dem, i-dem (the same) aliquī, aliquae/-a, aliquod (adj. some __, any ___)