Definition of Cartesian in US English:



  • Relating to Descartes and his ideas.

    • ‘Thus, translations and rotations of Cartesian coordinate systems for space still leave us with Cartesian systems.’
    • ‘Note, of course, that the use of such positional grids are an early form of Cartesian geometry.’
    • ‘The translation was published in 1697 and Clarke's notes in effect criticized Cartesian physics in favor of Newton's.’
    • ‘However, the theory of the adequate idea is far more systematic than its Cartesian prototype, and leads to conclusions which Descartes would certainly have rejected.’
    • ‘The first two are basic principles of Cartesian metaphysics as presented in the Meditations.’
    • ‘And generally, often in so-called logical thinking, we depend upon using the analogy of Euclidean or Cartesian argument, to define policy.’
    • ‘René Descartes was a philosopher whose work, La géométrie, includes his application of algebra to geometry from which we now have Cartesian geometry.’
    • ‘One of the major shifts in twentieth-century philosophy has been the rejection of this Cartesian assumption.’
    • ‘Many philosophers have since attempted their own refutations of Cartesian skepticism (including Descartes and Putnam himself).’
    • ‘He suddenly takes a U-turn and begins to attack Cartesian epistemology, the very basis of research from which this impressive body of scientific knowledge comes.’
    • ‘Even the Logical Positivists were, by and large, foundationalists, although some of them came to renounce Cartesian mentalism in favor of a ‘physicalistic basis’.’
    • ‘He is equally critical of the rationalist, Cartesian accounts of humanity, as well as the more empirical and behaviouristic attempts to designate the human condition.’
    • ‘This is a very appealing Cartesian intuition: my identity as the thinking thing that I am is revealed to me in consciousness, it is not something beyond the veil of consciousness.’
    • ‘The idea of self is thus not the product of a Cartesian intellectual intuition.’
    • ‘He used it to destroy modern Cartesian metaphysics, which turns on the distinction between subject and object.’
    • ‘Van Schooten was one of the main people to promote the spread of Cartesian geometry.’
    • ‘It took over a hundred years before Newton's ideas thoroughly supplanted the theory of Cartesian vortices.’
    • ‘Clear and distinct ideas are the hallmark of Cartesian thought, and Marion turns to the meaning of idea in Descartes.’
    • ‘These Cartesian speculations conveyed to Descartes' successors at least two issues.’
    • ‘His mathematical work covered Cartesian geometry and the theory of equations.’


  • A follower of Descartes.

    • ‘Some Cartesians strayed little from Descartes' scientific and metaphysical theories.’
    • ‘Locke's denial of the doctrine of innate ideas was, no doubt, directed specifically at Descartes and the Cartesians.’
    • ‘In fact, real mathematicians were almost universal in their praise, including the Cartesians who rejected his lack of a physical model for gravity.’
    • ‘With regard to body, Cordemoy warns that we must be careful to avoid the mistake made by other Cartesians, who have conflated what are in fact two distinct things, namely ‘bodies’ and ‘matter’.’
    • ‘Such difficulties were less apparent to the Cartesians than they are to us.’
    • ‘Du Châtelet grappled with the philosophical relationships between the Cartesian, Leibnizian and Newtonian systems.’
    • ‘He's a bit of a Cartesian because he knows Descartes, they were friends, and he has understood what was new in Cartesianism, the rational mind.’
    • ‘This is the problem of the empiricists, the positivists, the existentialists, the Cartesians, and so forth.’
    • ‘Quite aside from these difficulties, Cartesians are as much in the dark about how non-physical things manage to think and feel as their opponents are about how physical things can do so.’
    • ‘We may add to this the fact that Spinoza, though not a Cartesian, was an avid student of Descartes's works.’
    • ‘Though truth is not self-revealing (as Cartesians and Baconians thought), though certainty may be unattainable, the human situation with respect to knowledge is far from desperate.’
    • ‘The Cartesians naturally highlighted ‘reason’ and held the view that… the world of sensory perception is of minor importance; the Calvinists attempted to fathom God's underlying plan by scrupulously analysing natural phenomenon.’
    • ‘The argument we have just given is a statement of common sense facts of life which were appreciated in an intuitive fashion by the Cartesians.’
    • ‘He said that he is a Cartesian and that he has a hard time following your thoughts!’


Mid 17th century: from modern Latin Cartesianus, from Cartesius, Latinized form of the name of Descartes.