Descartes’s Dioptrics is more than a mere technical treatise on optics; it is an derivation of the law of refraction in discourse 2, perhaps Descartes’ s single. Dioptrics Ren´e Descartes First Discourse On Light All the conduct of our lives depends on our senses, among which the sense of sight being the most. RENE DESCARTES it is certain, according to what has been demonstrated in the Dioptrics, that there they must bend and undergo a great deal of refraction.

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For, in so far as we are intelligent beings, we cannot desire anything save that which is necessary, nor yield absolute acquiescence to anything, save to that which is true: Notify me of new comments via email.

Views Read Edit View history. Now, under this hypothesis, in order to know which path it must follow, let us consider afresh that its movement differs entirely from its determination to move more in one direction rather than another, from which it follows that their quantities must be examined separately; and let us also consider that of the two parts of which we can imagine this determination is composed, it is only that which makes the ball move from high to low that can be changed in some fashion by the encounter with the cloth, and that by which it is made to move towards the right always remains the same as it has been, because the cloth is in no way opposed to motion in that direction.

In today’s notation, the law of refraction states.

Remember me on this computer. An issue Spinoza would like to make regarding the powers and functions of a telescope, it would seem. View freely available titles: Saunders on As Lensmaker: That is, the possibility, introduced in Meditation I, that being deceivedafter the manner of the above puzzles, is sufficient grounds for not placing complete trust in the senses alone, remains a possibility at the close of the Meditations.

Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. You can even easily decide the question among them concerning the origin of the action that causes the sense of sight. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Second Discourse On Refraction Inasmuch as we will later need to know the quantity of this refraction exactly, and since it can be understood easily enough by the comparison which I have just used, I believe that it is appropriate that I try here to explain it all at once, and that I first speak of reflection, in order to make the understanding of refraction so much the easier. Finally, consider that, if a moving ball encounters obliquely the surface of a liquid body through which it can pass more or less easily than through that which it is leaving, it is deflected and changes its course when it enters: Then, as for the rest of the body of water that fills the entire space between B and I, although it resists the light more or less than did the air that we hypothesized earlier, this is not to say that it must divert it more or less: Furthermore, it must be noted that the determination to move in one direction can, just as movement, and in general any sort of quantity, be divided into all the parts of which we imagine it is composed, and that we can easily imagine that the motion of the ball which moves from A towards B is composed of two others, one causing it to descend from the line AF towards the line CE, and the other at the same time causing it to go from the left AC to the right FE, such that these two combined direct it towards B along straight line AB.


The Johns Hopkins University Press. And, if these balls encounter an uneven surface, such as L or M fig. For, as our blind person can sense bodies which are around him, not only by the action of these bodies when they move against his stick, but also by the action of his hand when they only resist his motion, thus, we must maintain that the objects of vision can be sensed not only by 3 There is nothing in the objects similar to the sensations that we have of them.

It is here in Descartes explication of magnification that he stumbles upon the single lens microscope, a likely device that Spinoza may have in mind, one that demands a spherical lens if only due to the extremely small glass pieces involved, and the glass-thread bead technique in making their objectives.

And it is difficult to find any of these inventions that has done as much good as the discovery of those marvelous telescopes, which, being in use for only a short time, have already revealed more new stars in the sky, and numerous other objects above the Earth, than we had seen before: Nevertheless, we shall bear with an equal mind all that happens to us in contravention to the claims of our own advantage, so long as we are conscious, that we have done our duty, and that the power which we possess is not sufficient to enable us to protect ourselves completely; remembering that we are a part of universal nature, and that we follow her order.

Click here to sign up. And Descartes brings up the point of their shape right away:.

DESCARTES – Dioptrics-On Light | Thiago Lédo –

That is, the puzzles of descartew and dioptfik perception introduced in the Meditations remain unaffected by removing the possibility of systematic universal deception; for it is clear that despite this possibility it remains possible that one will continue to take round towers for square ones, “perceive” the size of the observed sun to be that of a closely held coin or candle flame, mislocate the origin of a pain in a “phantom limb”, etc.

For, since it loses half its speed in passing through the cloth CBE, it must take twice as much time to pass below B to a point on the circumference of the circle AFD as it took above to pass from A to B: This example will prevent you from thinking it strange that light can extend its rays in an instant from the sun to us; for you know that the action by which one end of the stick is moved must thus pass in an instant to the other, and that light must pass in the same way between the Earth and the heavens, even though there would be more distance.

Now, having no other occasion to speak of light here, except to xescartes how its rays enter the eye, and how they can be deflected by the various dioptrok they encounter, there is no need for me to attempt to say what its true nature is, and I believe that it will suffice for me to make use of two or three comparisons which aid in conceiving it in the manner which seems to me the most correct to explain all of its properties that experience has made known to us, and then to deduce all the other properties which cannot so easily be noticed.

Then, in order to know precisely to which among all the points of the circle it will return, let us draw three straight lines AC, HB and FE, perpendicular to CE, and in such a way that there is neither more nor less distance between AC and HB as between HB and FE; and let us say that in as much time as the ball has taken to advance to the right from A one of the points on the line AC to B one of the points on line HBit must also advance from line HB to some point on sioptrik FE: And then, it is easy to understand that the encounter with the ground can only prevent one of these two determinations, and not in any way the other: Thus, if the tube HF [see same diagram] is filled with a completely solid lens, whose surface GHI is of such a shape that it causes all the rays coming from point X, once in the lens, to tend towards S; and if it causes its other surface KM to bend them again in such a way that they tend from there towards the eye in the same way as if they came from the point x, which I assume to be so located that the lines xC and CS have between them the same proportion as XH and HS; then those which come from point V will necessarily intersect the rays from point x on the surface GHI, in such a way that, since they are already distant from them when they are at the other end of the tube, the surface KM will not be able to bring them together, especially if it is concave, as I suppose it to be; instead sioptrik will reflect them toward the eye, in nearly the same way as if they came from point Y.


Spinoza does not mention microscopes in his objection to Descartes, but one cannot help but think that he has in mind the entirely spherical balls of glass sometimes ground into convex-convex shapeswhich are used in their construction. Gilbert for translating various passages discussed below. This page was last edited on 19 Februaryat Never for diopptrik a hearth-mate may he have been, never equal in mind He who offers this.

Theories of Light from Descartes to Newton. Retrieved from ” https: Nor will you find it strange that, by means of it, we can see all sorts of colors; and perhaps you will even believe that these colors are nothing other in the bodies that we call colored than the different ways in which these bodies receive light and send it back to our eyes: By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use.


Picture a vat, at the time of vintage full of half-pressed grapes, and in the bottom of the vat, a hole or two, A and B, have been made through which the soft wine that it contains may flow.

Alternate translations are contained in square brackets. Among these latter, some cause rays to reflect without causing any other change in their action, namely those that we call white; and others bring with this reflection a change similar to that received by the movement of a ball when it is grazed, namely those which are red, or yellow, or blue, or of any other such color.

Random HousePp. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves. That is why we treat the BwO as the full egg before the extension of the organism and the organization of the organs, before the formation of the strata; as the intense egg defined by axes and vectors, gradients and thresholds, by dynamic tendencies involving energy transformation and kinematic movements involving group displacement, by migrations: But Spinoza seems to have focused on what follows, which leaves off any concern for this factor: