General Introduction: Rohault’s Cartesianism
Mihnea Dobre, Ovidiu Babeș, Ioana Bujor, Grigore Vida
Jacques Rohault‘s preface to the Traité de Physique is a special document in the history of philosophy and science. The author was a well-known Cartesian, a professor of mathematics in Paris, and a reputed experimentalist. For a long time, associating Cartesianism with the empirical investigation of nature was quite uncommon. However, recent studies are blurring the boundaries.1 To be sure, this is not the only historiographical problem raised by the case of Rohault. The historian of science is equally challenged by explaining the very good reception of Rohault‘s treatise in early modern English universities, where the book was popular mainly due to several annotated editions prepared by the Newtonian Samuel Clarke.2 The current study aims to address these historiographical challenges, while introducing a critical edition of four early modern versions of Rohault‘s preface to the Traité: the original French, the first Latin translation (by Théophile Bonet and amended by Antoine Le Grand), the second Latin translation (by Samuel Clarke), and the English translation (by John Clarke).