Alan Nelson- Descartes’ Anti-Mathematicism

Alan Nelson 18.5-page-001


Descartes is famous for the project of understanding nature geometrically or mathematically.  He is also often regarded as a kind of Platonist realist about mathematical objects.  A closer examination shows that Descartes regarded the value of mathematics as very strictly limited.  The limits apply to the intrinsic value of studying mathematics, the epistemic role of mathematical truth, and to the nature of mathematical demonstration in the sciences.