Although this book is written by a philosopher, its aims and methods are self-consciously and rigorously historical. It is thus a useful counterpart to H. J. M. Bos's recent (2001) book on Descartes's mathematics, Redefining Geometrical Exactness: Descartes's Transformation of the Early Modern Concept of Construction, which, though written by a historian of mathematics, seems motivated by a thoroughly philosophical interest in how changes in mathematical procedures, representation, and ontology take place. Professor Sasaki's concern, by contrast, is to chart how ideas are transmitted textually from one era or culture to another, and to make precise the chronology of Descartes's acquisition, or relinquishing, of certain ideas. In the end, his historiography produces philosophical insight, but it is rather more external than internal to Descartes's project....

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