Legitimacy of Human Society in the Context of Descartes’s Method

Richard Zika

DOI: https://doi.org/10.46938/tv.2008.10


The article focuses on social context and consequences of Descartes’s method. The method demands rejection of human society as an intrusion into the development of human rationality. Though a declared acceptance of human society in its historically established facticity makes part of this rejection, it is necessary to defend oneself against it at first. The philosopher of method defends himself against society not only by means of isolation, but by external integration as well. When thus secured, he convinces the authorities not only about social harmlessness of his method, but also about its usefulness. He presents his method as ready to contribute a great deal to stability or to solid foundation of hitherto society. But even this cautious claim is guided by a pursuit of protection – now of the protection by authorities – for the benefit of the most important thing in the human world, the method itself, and the freedom of reason.


Descartes; method; human society; freedom of reason; protection

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TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published twice a year by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies). ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: http://teorievedy.flu.cas.cz /// email: teorievedy@flu.cas.cz