R.M.Alger

Descartes...Murdered?

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Descartes was 'poisoned by Catholic priest'

For more than three and a half centuries, the death of René Descartes one winter's day in Stockholm has been attributed to the ravages of pneumonia on a body unused to the Scandinavian chill. But in a book released after years spent combing the archives of Paris and the Swedish capital, one Cartesian expert has a more sinister theory about how the French philosopher came to his end.

According to Theodor Ebert, an academic at the University of Erlangen, Descartes died not through natural causes but from an arsenic-laced communion wafer given to him by a Catholic priest.

Ebert believes that Jacques Viogué, a missionary working in Stockholm, administered the poison because he feared Descartes's radical theological ideas would derail an expected conversion to Catholicism by the monarch of protestant Sweden.

...

....The theory of foul play has been greeted with caution by scholars. Since Descartes's death on 11 February 1650, pneumonia has been blamed for robbing the world of the so-called father of modern philosophy.

Ebert rejects this as incompatible with the facts. In a letter written after his patient's death, Descartes's doctor, Van Wullen, described having found something wrong – which Ebert believes to be blood – in the philosopher's urine. "That is not a symptom of pneumonia; it is a symptom of poisoning, chiefly of arsenic," said Ebert, adding that Descartes asked his doctor to prescribe an emetic. "What conclusion is to be drawn other than the philosopher, who was well-acquainted with the medicine of his day, believed he had been poisoned?"

I wouldn't put it past some catholic preist, but this sounds like nothing more then pure speculation lacking in any genuine evidence.

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Descartes was 'poisoned by Catholic priest'
For more than three and a half centuries, the death of René Descartes one winter's day in Stockholm has been attributed to the ravages of pneumonia on a body unused to the Scandinavian chill. But in a book released after years spent combing the archives of Paris and the Swedish capital, one Cartesian expert has a more sinister theory about how the French philosopher came to his end.

According to Theodor Ebert, an academic at the University of Erlangen, Descartes died not through natural causes but from an arsenic-laced communion wafer given to him by a Catholic priest.

Ebert believes that Jacques Viogué, a missionary working in Stockholm, administered the poison because he feared Descartes's radical theological ideas would derail an expected conversion to Catholicism by the monarch of protestant Sweden.

...

....The theory of foul play has been greeted with caution by scholars. Since Descartes's death on 11 February 1650, pneumonia has been blamed for robbing the world of the so-called father of modern philosophy.

Ebert rejects this as incompatible with the facts. In a letter written after his patient's death, Descartes's doctor, Van Wullen, described having found something wrong – which Ebert believes to be blood – in the philosopher's urine. "That is not a symptom of pneumonia; it is a symptom of poisoning, chiefly of arsenic," said Ebert, adding that Descartes asked his doctor to prescribe an emetic. "What conclusion is to be drawn other than the philosopher, who was well-acquainted with the medicine of his day, believed he had been poisoned?"

I wouldn't put it past some catholic preist, but this sounds like nothing more then pure speculation lacking in any genuine evidence.

Applying Ockham's Razor would lead one to assume he died of pneumonia. Descartes was accustomed to a soft life, staying in bed until noon. Queen Christina required his presence at six in the morning in one of the coldest countries on earth. This wore down his far from robust health.

There was a Conspiracy Theory to the effect that some Catholic Priest gave Descartes arsenic tainted communion wafers (Descartes was a practicing Catholic). The way to resolve that is to retrieve some of the hair from his remains and test it for arsenic. The same was done to the remains of Napoleon and it was discovered that he was poisoned with arsenic.

Bob Kolker

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There was a Conspiracy Theory to the effect that some Catholic Priest gave Descartes arsenic tainted communion wafers (Descartes was a practicing Catholic). The way to resolve that is to retrieve some of the hair from his remains and test it for arsenic. The same was done to the remains of Napoleon and it was discovered that he was poisoned with arsenic.

That wouldn't necessarily work, because Napoleon was constantly exposed to the arsenic in the paint of his house on St. Helena, while Descartes would have only received it once.

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