This volume explores the relationship between physics and metaphysics in Descartes’ philosophy. According to the standard account, Descartes modified the objects of metaphysics and physics and inverted the order in which these two disciplines were traditionally studied. This book challenges the standard account in which Descartes prioritizes metaphysics over physics. It does so by taking into consideration the historical reception of Descartes and the ways in which Descartes himself reacted to these receptions in his own lifetime. The book stresses the diversity of these receptions by taking into account not only Cartesianisms but also anti-Cartesianisms, and by showing how they retroactively highlighted different aspects of Descartes’ works and theoretical choices. The historical aspect of the volume is unique in that it not only analyzes different constructions of Descartes that emerged in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, but also reflects on how his work was first read by philosophers across Europe. Taken together, the essays in this volume offer a fresh and up-to-date contribution to this important debate in early modern philosophy.

chapter |9 pages


ByDelphine Antoine-Mahut, Sophie Roux

part I|72 pages


chapter 1|20 pages

First Philosophy, Metaphysics, and Physics

The Implications of Order in Cartesian Philosophy and in the Philosophy of Enlightenment
ByMariafranca Spallanzani

chapter 3|35 pages

Between Fake, Unfortunate, and Actual Dependence

The Tumultuous Relationships of Descartes’ Physics and Metaphysics in the First Half of Twentieth-Century History and Philosophy of Science
ByDelphine Bellis

part II|76 pages

Physics and Metaphysics in Descartes’ Time

chapter 5|12 pages

Strange Bedfellows

Physics and Metaphysics in Descartes
ByEmanuela Scribano

chapter 6|15 pages

Descartes, A Priori Knowledge, and Metaphysics

ByDesmond M. Clarke

chapter 7|19 pages

A Deflationist Solution to the Problem of Force in Descartes

BySophie Roux

part III|100 pages

European Receptions

chapter 8|14 pages

Duplex Intellectus Et Sermo Duplex

Method and the Separation of Disciplines in Johannes De Raey
ByAntonella Del Prete

chapter 9|13 pages

The Materialist Reception of the Cartesian Physics in Naples

ByPierre Girard

chapter 10|25 pages

Physics in the Broad Sense

Boyle, Newton, and the Baconian Metaphysical Physics
ByPhilippe Hamou

chapter 11|30 pages

Continuous Creation, Occasionalism, and Persistence

Leibniz on Bayle
ByJean-Pascal Anfray

chapter 12|16 pages

Sticking to the Middle Course

Intellectual Ethics and Scientific Practice in Leibniz’s Metaphysical Physics
ByMogens Lærke