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Descartes' Bones

A Skeletal History of the Conflict Between Faith and Reason

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Paperback published by Vintage (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
A New York Times Notable BookSixteen years after René Descartes' death in Stockholm in 1650, a pious French ambassador exhumed the remains of the controversial philosopher to transport them back to Paris. Thus began a 350-year saga that saw Descartes' bones traverse a continent, passing between kings, philosophers, poets, and painters. But as Russell Shorto shows in this deeply engaging book, Descartes' bones also played a role in some of the most momentous episodes in history, which are also part of the philosopher's metaphorical remains: the birth of science, the rise of democracy, and the earliest debates between reason and faith. Descartes' Bones is a flesh-and-blood story about the battle between religion and rationalism that rages to this day.
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A New York Times Notable BookSixteen years after René Descartes' death in Stockholm in 1650, a pious French ambassador exhumed the remains of the controversial philosopher to transport them back to Paris. Thus began a 350-year saga that saw Descartes' bones traverse a continent, passing between kings, philosophers, poets, and painters. But as Russell Shorto shows in this deeply engaging book, Descartes' bones also played a role in some of the most momentous episodes in history, which are also part of the philosopher's metaphorical remains: the birth of science, the rise of democracy, and the earliest debates between reason and faith. Descartes' Bones is a flesh-and-blood story about the battle between religion and rationalism that rages to this day.
Product Details
Paperback (336 pages)
Published: August 25, 2009
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307275660
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  • Philippe Mennecier, the Director of Conservation at the Musée de l'homme, the great anthropology museum in Paris, is a tall, narrow man, thin of hair, with wire-rimmed glasses and the...

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  • On the southern edge of Stockholm's Old Town stands a four-story building that was constructed during the busy, fussy period called the Baroque.

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  • Philippe Mennecier, de hoofdconservator van het Musée de l'Homme, het grote antropologische museum in Parijs, is een rijzige, slanke man met dunnend haar, een bril met dun stalen montuur...

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  • Aan de zuidelijke rand van de oude stad van Stockholm staat een huis van vier verdiepingen, gebouwd in de overdadige, drukke stijl die barok wordt genoemd. (Hoofdstuk 1)

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  • Alla febbre era subentrata la polmonite; il paziente aveva il respiro irregolare, gli occhi erratici. Chanut avrebbe voluto mandare a chiamare il medico di corte, ma Cartesio si era...

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  • Oggi si pensa a Cartesio soprattutto come matematico - l'inventore della geometria analitica - e come colui che ha formulato il problema del dualismo nel pensiero filosofico moderno,...

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  • Molti di noi tendono a pensare che il "moderno" sia un dato, una base comune. E con "moderno" non mi riferisco solo alle grandi cose ad esso collegate - la scienza, la ragione, la...

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  • Misschien kunnen leden van de vijandelijke kampen elkaar dan weer ontmoeten en naar tekenen van vertrouwen zoeken in het gezicht van een ander. (Hoofdstuk 7)

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  • Er is in de documenten geen ruimte voor het leven dat zich in die jaren moet hebben afgespeeld, maar ergens in de volheid ervan – het geroezemoes in de herberg, de klinkende kroezen...

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  • Then, maybe, members of opposing camps could meet anew, seeking out signs of trust in another person's face.

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  • There is no room in the records for all the life that must have been packed into the years, but somewhere in its density—the bustling of the inn, clanking tankards of Dutch beer, pipe...

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