These objections in the first edition are arranged under six heads: the first came from Caterus, a theologian of Louvain; the second and sixth are anonymous criticisms from various hands; whilst the third, fourth and fifth belong respectively to Hobbes, Arnauld and Gassendi.
The anonymous objections are very much the statement of common-sense against philosophy; those of Caterus criticize the Cartesian argument from the traditional theology of the church; those of Arnauld are an appreciative inquiry into the bearings and consequences of the meditations for religion and morality; while those of Hobbes (q.v.) and Gassendi - both somewhat senior to Descartes and with a dogmatic system of their own already formed - are a keen assault upon the spiritualism of the Cartesian position from a generally " sensational " standpoint.
They are also the direct antitheses to the scepticism of Montaigne and Pascal, to the materialism of Gassendi and Hobbes, and to the superstitious anthropomorphism which defaced the reawakening sciences of nature.
Every moment one expects to find Descartes saying with Hobbes that man's thought has created God, or with Spinoza and Malebranche that it is God who really thinks in the apparent thought of man.
In doing what he did, Descartes actually exemplified that reduction of the processes of nature to mere transposition of the particles of matter, which in different ways was a leading idea in the minds of Bacon, Hobbes and Gassendi.
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