Friday, July 30, 2010

Descartes' Bones

Anybody know who Rene Descartes is? I thought so, not many outside of philosophy. But he died in the mid 1600's and is probably the father of the modern world. He wrote a treatise on the Method, or the modern way of conducting an investigation. In other words science. He is also the one to state the concept of dualism. In a book written by Russel Shorto, published by Doubleday, called Descartes' Bones, we get a very insightful and amazing journey into the philosophy, enlightenment and his bones over a 350 year period. Along the way we meet many interesting historical figures such as Queen Christina of Sweden, P. Curvier, Broca, Napoleon, Jefferson, and a host of others. The connections are mind blowing. It is also an adventure into the war, division, conflict of science and religion. The philosophers bones according to the author give a metaphor or analogy into this ranging debate that has lasted over 300 years and is currently unresolved. If anything the debate is even heating up. This is underscored by Aryann Hirsi Ali and Christopher Hithchens along with Dawkins being mentioned in the book. At first I was reluctant to read the book, now I am glade I did. I highly recommend it.

Skeptical DoDo

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