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p. 378. Three Specimens of a Methodlocked

  • Tom Sorell


‘Three Specimens of a Method’ discusses three essays: Dioptrics, Meteors, and Geometry, published, together with the Discourse on Methods, in 1637. The literary form of the Discourse and Essays solved many of the problems that had previously kept Descartes from publishing. Since he found it difficult to write large-scale works, this format made it possible to combine a number of shorter pieces into a sort of album or portfolio of his best results. He was unwilling to run the risk of offending the Church so the plan of unveiling miscellaneous specimens of his work allowed him to advertise his method without revealing its controversial applications in connection with planetary motion.

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