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date: 30 July 2021

p. 52. The origins of French philosophylocked

p. 52. The origins of French philosophylocked

  • Stephen Gaukroger
  •  and Knox Peden


What do Montaigne’s Essays have in common with modern philosophy? ‘The origins of French philosophy’ explains different approaches to relativism, humanism, and scepticism in the writings of Montaigne and Descartes, and lesser-known philosophers Gassendi and Malebranche. As a cleric, Gassendi shaped his conclusions around Christian doctrine. When Descartes was unable to argue a central scientific theory because of the Church—that the Earth revolves around the Sun—he became preoccupied by the possibility of absolute, indisputable knowledge. Thus, ontology in French philosophy was replaced with epistemology—the study of knowledge. How did early modern philosophers explain the relationship between God, the mind, and the body?

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