The Good Life

Also on my list of things to read is Matthew Jones’ The Good Life in the Scientific Revolution: Descartes, Pascal, Leibniz, and the Cultivation of Virtue. It is about, broadly speaking, the intersection of philosophical, scientific and mathematical interests in the work of Descartes, Pascal and Leibniz. That makes it sound like it is about the impact of the new sciences on the metaphysical and epistemological views of those philosophers. And while there is some of that, the larger theme is the influence of moral considerations on their work. So this is a work that should be very interesting to philosophers.

One or two disclaimers. I of course haven’t read the book, what with my to be read pile now visible from the moon and all. But I have talked to Matt a fair bit about it, so I’m very much looking forward to reading it. There is a long discussion of Descartes’ geometry which I’m particularly interested in, and which promises to have a lot of philosophical payoffs. Matt is professionally a historian (he’s in the history department at Columbia), but I hope this work gets a lot of philosophical attention.

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