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18 | 2018
Usages contemporains de Descartes

Contemporary Uses of Descartes
Edited by Alexandre Billon and Edouard Mehl

Rationalist, mechanist, positivist, idealist, transcendentalist, pacifist, socialist, dogmatist, skeptic... the list of epithets attributed to Descartes is so long, so varied, and so full of contradictions that it would be tedious and futile to draw up a complete inventory.

In fact, since Descartes himself, all philosophy seems inevitably called upon to take up a position with respect to Descartes and his project of an absolute restarting of philosophy a primis fundamentis—whether to make him a paragon of radicality and a precursor opening the way to all subsequent philosophical thought (Husserl), or, on the contrary, to denounce the implausibility of Cartesian dualism (Ryle, Dennett, and an important portion of contemporary philosophy of mind); or whether to criticize the subservience of Cartesian philosophy to the epistemic interests of the science of his time (Heidegger), or even, in a more ambiguous and subtle way, to make the Cartesian philosophical discourse the symptom of an epoch—the classical age—which is simultaneously the age of knowledge, lucidity, and free examination, as well as a fatal forgetfulness, a blindness, and an ignorance of one’s essence (Foucault).

This thematic issue devoted to Contemporary uses of Descartes proposes to sketch a typology of the uses of Descartes in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Alexandre Billon & Édouard Mehl

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