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date: 23 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the intellectual development of Jacques Rohault—although not considered one of the leading figures of the early modern period, well known among historians of science. It attempts to evaluate Rohault’s Cartesianism and to present it in a more nuanced manner than it is usually illustrated in the literature. Focusing on his mature work, published only one year before his death in 1672, but also referring to his earlier activities in Paris and to the publication of his posthumous works, the chapter argues that his “Cartesianism” came rather late in his thinking, while his early activity concerns mathematics and mechanics. The reading endorsed in this chapter opens a fresh perspective on Rohault’s experimentalism, suggesting a transition from practical mathematics to Cartesian natural philosophy.

Keywords: Jacques Rohault, Cartesianism, experimentalism, mathematics, natural philosophy

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