I Think, Therefore I Am Back In Business


In what The New York Times‘ Patricia Cohen writes is “the Great Train Robbery of French intellectual life: thousands of treasured documents[…] vanished from the Institut de France in the mid-1800s, stolen by an Italian mathematician.” Before the publication of his famed Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes was documented writing numerous correspondences, amounting to precisely 72 letters. Those letters were among the stolen documents.

Now, Descartes, “the founding genius of modern philosophy and analytic geometry,” is riding an astounding historical comeback, for a letter – penned by the philosopher  himself – blipped up on the radar of mathematical historians everywhere when it was recently discovered at Haverford College in Pennsylvania.

Hans Kulla-Mader studied writing at Sarah Lawrence College and is currently living in San Francisco. More from this author →