Daniel Collette


University of South Florida

Descartes’s horror vacui: Rohault on the Void and Pascal’s Cartesian Critique

A central point for Descartes’s project in the Regulae and Discourse on Method was to build a natural philosophy detached from obscure judgments based on ancient and scholastic authorities. In the Meditations and Principles, he makes this critique implicitly, but obtains the same goal through methodological doubt: reject natural philosophy built upon tradition instead of sound reason. This becomes an important methodological concern for some early Cartesians, including two especially trusted by Clerselier, Jacques Rohault (who was Regis’s teacher) and Blaise Pascal.