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The Philosopher, the Priest, and the Painter: A Portrait of Descartes Paperback – 26 May 2015

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Product details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (26 May 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691165750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691165752
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.9 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,927,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"The famous painting of Descartes by Frans Hals that hangs in the Louvre is, in fact, not by Frans Hals. And a similar things-are-not-what-they-seem quality applies to this clever little book. For behind the telling of the story of a clutch of paintings and a group of friends in the seventeenth century, Nadler gives us a brisk and lively account of Descartes' philosophy, which, more than any other, would become the foundation of modernity."--Russell Shorto, author of Descartes' Bones

"This lucid and readable book serves as a biography, an exposition of philosophy, and a rich tapestry of Dutch history and culture."--Larry Silver, University of Pennsylvania

"The Philosopher, the Priest, and the Painter is an excellent introduction for general readers to Descartes and his thought. Nadler brings the story and ideas to life."--Daniel Garber, Princeton University

"Steven Nadler has produced another gem of original research and lively and lucid writing."---Catherine Wilson, Times Literary Supplement

"Riveting. . . . In The Philosopher, the Priest, and the Painter, Nadler has . . . written his most inviting book yet. . . . Nadler's detective work makes for fascinating reading. . . . [T]he resulting survey of Golden Age Dutch culture, Cartesian philosophy and art connoisseurship . . . makes for . . . very welcome intellectual entertainment."---Michael Dirda, Washington Post

"[B]y situating him firmly in his time and place, [Nadler] makes clear what made Descartes the intellectual superstar of his day. . . . [A]n original, intriguing set-up. . . . [A]s an introduction to Descartes' philosophy, it is excellent."---David Wolf, Slate

"As one would expect from a distinguished philosopher such as Nadler, the description of Descartes's philosophy, and in particular his Discourse (1637) and Meditations (1641), is flawless."---Jerry Brotton, Literary Review

"Cartesian iconography centers around a widely known portrait of Descartes attributed to Frans Hals. In this book, Nadler uses the story of that painting's origin to present a study of Descartes and his philosophy that will be accessible to a wide audience. . . . [T]his volume serves as a very good introduction to Descartes's philosophy in historical context."--Choice

"[C]harming. . . . Nadler, an American philosopher and author, has written an immensely readable introduction to Descartes."--Australian

"[A] landscape (or at least a well-turned charcoal sketch) of religious, artistic, and economic life in the Netherlands during the first half of the 17th century. . . . Nadler's book . . . takes us back upstream a ways--beginning, rather than exempting us from, a dialog with the dead."---Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed

From the Author

Steven Nadler is the William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin--Madison. His books include Rembrandt’s Jews, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Spinoza: A Life, which won the Koret Jewish Book Award; and A Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza’s Scandalous Treatise and the Birth of the Secular Age (Princeton).

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews
David B. Johnson
4.0 out of 5 starsA Closer Look at Descartes - the Painting
19 August 2013 - Published on Amazon.com
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9 people found this helpful.
Massimo Pigliucci
3.0 out of 5 starsGood idea, okay execution
5 April 2015 - Published on Amazon.com
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3 people found this helpful.
Theofrastus Nihilus
5.0 out of 5 starsFinally something different
2 June 2013 - Published on Amazon.com
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7 people found this helpful.
3.0 out of 5 starsYou could skip it
8 July 2013 - Published on Amazon.com
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2 people found this helpful.
Doug S.
4.0 out of 5 starsA good summary of Descartes philosophy
7 June 2013 - Published on Amazon.com
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