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Jeremy S. Hyman
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (Fayetteville, AR 72701-1201)

Descartes on the Existence and Nature of Material Things

Summer research and writing on History of Philosophy.

The book proposes an entirely new interpretation of Descartes' Meditations, one that takes the Meditation 6 proof for the existence of material things as not only responding to the skeptical arguments of Meditation 1, but as laying the foundations for a deductive science of nature to be developed in the Principles of Philosophy. I study the argument, in its Meditations and Principles versions; I assess the special role of the Meditations in the Cartesian corpus; and, most generally, I seek to establish Descartes as a major philosopher of body, not just a philosopher of self and of God. The importance of the project for the humanities is twofold: first, it provides a new understanding of what is one of the most important and influential works of the early modern period; and second, it shows how Descartes not only made substantive contributions to the scientific revolution's understanding of body, but also put forward a surprisingly interesting proof to establish its subject matter.

Project fields:
History of Philosophy

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2015 – 6/30/2015