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Journal of Early Modern Studies

Volume 1, Issue 1, Fall 2012

Shaping the Republic of Letters: Communication, Correspondence and Networks in Early Modern Europe

Anne Davenport
Pages 65-85
DOI: 10.7761/JEMS.1.1.65

English Recusant Networks and the Early Defense of Cartesian Philosophy

Following the publication of Descartes’s mechanistic explanation of transubstantiation in 1641, proponents of Galileo’s cosmology and of mechanistic principles of philosophy found themselves vulnerable to a concerted attack by theological authorities. This article calls attention to an early written defense of Cartesian transubstantiation and argues that the “weak” ties of English Catholic networks played a key role in mounting a targeted defense, beyond Mersenne’s immediate circle, of the autonomy of natural philosophy.