Around the middle of the seventeenth century, at a when the Dutch Republic blossomed into a golden age, it witnessed a • sophical . The newly established Aristotelian tradition which for several decades had dominated the philosophical curric• ula at the universities, was largely replaced by a generation of 'new' , who were mainly inspired by the writings of Descartes. The French was by no means the first critic of Aris• totle, but in the Netherlands he certainly was the most successful. Dutch 'Cartesians', however, were anything but loyal disciples and Descartes had every reason to be concerned about the kind of fol• lowing he was gathering in the Netherlands. Yet his would have a unique impact on Dutch . Nowhere in Europe, not even in , would he acquire the kind of status he was to hold in the Republic, where Cartesianism was to become much more than just another alternative to the philosophia recepta. Of course, in France Descartes' prestige was also considerable.1 However, at the universities and the propedeutic 'collèges de plein excercise' 's authority was not really questioned during the seventeenth century. Moreover, only professors of natural philoso• phy showed interest. Only during the first half of the eighteenth century would Cartesianism be considered a feasible alternative to the corpus Aristotelicum. Significantly, in it would be the revolu• tion in astronomy which first challenged Peripateticism. Yet during the 1680s, while at Leiden natural philosophers were already aban• doning Cartesianism in favour of a more experimental approach to , Parisian professors of natural philosophy launched a con• certed effort to find Aristotelian solutions for such newly discov• ered phenomena as the formation and désintégration of heaven-

1 See in general the still impressive Bouillier, Histoire de la philosophie cartésienne, I, 429frand II, passim and the recent survey in Schobinger (Hrsg.) Grundnss ... Die Philosophie des ι y. Jahrhunderts. Band 2: Frankreich und Niederlande, I, 398 fr and II, passim. 164 EPILOGUE ly bodies.2 By that time, however, the Académie des sciences had been dominated for quite some time by Cartesians such as Huy- gens and Rohault (1617-1672).3 What is more, the literary success enjoyed by Fontenelle (1657-1757), had introduced this new phi• losophy into the Parisian salons. Meanwhile, Nicolas Malebranche (1638-1715)—inspired by Schuyl's edition of De homine—had de• veloped a highly original variant of Cartesianism, which would be• come extremely influential in France. Finally, it should be added that Descartes could count on the protection of friends in high places in France just as he could in the Republic. In 1647, the Duc de Luynes personally translated the Meditationes, and the prince de Condé and the Duc de Rohan, two of the most powerful men in the country, were widely known to be admirers of Cartesianism. As far as the academies were concerned, the Oratoires' were by far the most receptive to this new philosophy.4 Malebranche too was an Oratorien'. One of the schools of this secular congregation, was in Saumur, which also housed an important Protestant university, where during the 1610s Franco Burgersdijk had held a chair. At this Huguenot academy Cartesianism was already favoured during the 1660s by Jean-Robert Chouet (1640-1715), who would go on to introduce it at the acade• my of Geneva.5 In doing so, he broadly followed the example set by Wittichius' separatism, turning natural philosophy into a largely au• tonomous discipline, not unlike Heereboord and De Raey had done at Leiden.6 In many ways, German Cartesianism was largely an export prod• uct from the Republic. In view of the numbers of German students who enrolled at Dutch universities in general, and at Leiden in par• ticular, this can come as no surprise. As the Encyclopédie would have it, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Leiden was 'the first academy of Europe'.7 Between 1640 and 1669 an average of twen• ty percent of the Leiden body of students was of German origin. Comparable percentages have been established for the universities of Franeker, Groningen and Harderwijk. Almost twenty percent of all

2 Brockliss, 'Philosophy Teaching in France'; 'Aristotle, Descartes and the New Science' and French Higher Education. 3 Hahn, The Anatomy of a Scientific Institution. See also Clarke, Occult Powers and Hypotheses. 4 Girbal, Bernard Lamy, 14 η0; Gouhier, Cartésianisme et augustinisme, 81-121. 5 Prost, La Philosophie à VAcadémie protestante de Saumur; Heyd, Between Orthodoxy and the Enlightenment. See also Stauffer, L Affaire d'Huisseau. 6 Heyd, Between Orthodoxy and the Enlightenment, 81-86. 7 Grafton, 'Civic and Scientific Scholarship', 59.