Carlo Borghero

Intellectual and Natural Order in Post-Cartesian Age

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The paper considers some of the discussions about the correspondence between the order of things, granted by God, and the order of ideas that helps the man's mind to arrange his own knowledge about the external world. The examination of the reflections on the causes and the order of the nature, as well as on the perceptions that mind has of natural phenomena, shows that this correspondence tends to grow weak. Through the scrutiny of texts by Descartes, Locke, Newton, Leibniz, Condillac, Condorcet, this paper points out the reflections on different notions (nominal and real essences, chain of being, analysis and synthesis, evidence and intuition, certainty and probability), then showing the weakening of the geometric in favour of an empirical pattern of knowledge, more useful to the matters of fact, which closes in the end of the eighteenth century. Particular attention is reserved to the apologetic side of the discussion on the certainty of the matters of fact and on the possibility of wonders and miracles.


  • Order
  • Analysis
  • Probability
  • Matters of Fact
  • Miracles


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