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Subtitle: The Exchange with Descartes Concerning the Discours de la méthode and the 'Essays'
Author(s): VERBEEK, Theo
Volume: 41 Issue: 1 Date: 2014
In this article I argue that Libertus Fromondus’ response to Descartes’ Discours de la méthode was probably solicited by Descartes himself. Descartes counted on specific objectors to create a ‘responsorial cycle,’ in which an important part was to be played by professionals from Louvain, including Fromondus, who most likely presumed his response would be printed. Fromondus seems to warn Descartes that if he would continue to conceal the principles of his philosophy, he would be associated with Epicureanism. Fromondus neither understands Descartes’ purely mechanical explanations of qualities, nor does he appreciate the role of ‘subtle matter’ as an agent of physical change. He also ignores important aspects of the Discours, presumably because he did not read all of it. Fromondus’ objections to Descartes are only in part specifically ‘Aristotelian.’ In most cases, his reaction is that of an anti-atomist with a lot of common sense. His response makes it clear that Descartes failed to realize that the very flexibility of meteorology did not work in his favour.