Book Announcement: The a priori in the Thought of Descartes: Cognition, Method and Science

The a priori in the Thought of Descartes: Cognition, Method and Science now available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Hardback, pp408, £57.99 / $98.95

Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of The a priori in the Thought of Descartes: Cognition, Method and Science by Jan Palkoska.

It has been acknowledged that, while Descartes’s usage of the term “a priori” is at odds with the now-current Kantian meaning, it also fails to correspond to the standard Aristotelian notion. However, there is, as yet, little agreement as to the exact positive meaning Descartes associates with the term. As such, this book offers a clear and historically adequate account of this disputed issue. Descartes’s concept of apriority is interpreted as resulting from an interplay of two trends: development of a universal method of discovery based upon Descartes’s ground-breaking reinterpretation of heuristic procedures in mathematics, and a substantial transformation of the Renaissance-Aristotelian conception of scientific reasoning.

This interpretation stems from a fresh and innovative account of some central and controversial topics of Descartes scholarship and from a historically-informed outline of the situation in mathematics and in philosophy of science in Descartes’s times. The book will thus contribute to a better understanding of several fundamental issues in the philosopher’s thought. It will also help to shed light upon the challenging and strangely neglected question of why Kant decided to employ the term “a priori” in a way which differs so dramatically from the once well-established Aristotelian usage.

To read a full summary of the book and to read a 30-page sample extract, which includes the table of contents, please visit the following link:

The a priori in the Thought of Descartes: Cognition, Method and Science can be purchased directly from Cambridge Scholars, through Amazon and other online retailers, or through our global network of distributors. Our partners include Bertram, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, Ingram, YBP, Inspirees and MHM Limited. An e-book version will be available for purchase through the Google Play store in due course.

For further information on placing an order for this title, please contact

About the Author

Jan Palkoska, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Charles University in Prague. He specializes in early-modern rationalist philosophy and contemporary metaphysics. He has authored a monograph in English on Leibniz’s notion of substance, several chapters in collective volumes, and a number of articles in both international and national journals.

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