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date: 24 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Historians of philosophy have read Simon Foucher both as a Cartesian philosopher wedded to the basic principles of Descartes’s philosophy, and also as a fierce anti-Cartesian skeptic whose writings may be responsible more than anyone else’s for the “downfall of Cartesianism”. This chapter argues that this “Foucher enigma” arises because Foucher’s writings, when considered in themselves, are Cartesian in spirit even when they criticize Descartes. But taken in the context of the wave of late seventeenth-century French skepticism, Foucher’s writings contribute to a devastating attack on Descartes’s criterion of truth. The conclusion is that, perhaps like Descartes, Foucher was a skeptic malgré lui.

Keywords: Simon Foucher, skepticism, criterion of truth, evidence, idealism

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