Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Pierre Sylvain Régis

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Born at La Salvetat de Blanquefort, near Agen, in 1632; died in Paris, in 1707. After his classical studies, he came to Paris, followed the lectures of Rohault at the Sorbonne and became a warm admirer and partisan of the philosophy of Descartes. He then, with great success, taught the principles of Cartesianism at Toulouse (1665), Aigues-Mortes, Montpellier (1671), and Paris (1680). The prohibition issued about that time against the teaching of Cartesianism (cf. Cousin, "Fragments philosophiques", 5th ed., Paris, 1866, III) put an end to his lectures. He was elected a member of the Academy of Sciences in 1699. His chief work is his "Cours entier de philosophie ou Système général selon les principles de Descartes" (3 vols., Paris, 1690), where he presented in a systematic way the principles of the Cartesian philosophy. Strongly opposed to Malebranche's idealism, against which he wrote several articles in the "Journal des Savants" (1693 and 1694), Régis modified the system of Descartes on various points in the direction of empiricism. He denied that the human soul has innate and eternal ideas, maintained that all our ideas are modifications of the soul united to the body and that we can know our body and extension as immediately as our soul and thought. His book having been criticized by Huet and Duhamel, he then wrote his "Réponse au livre quie a pour titre Censura philosophiæ Cartesianæ" (Paris, 1691), and "Répose aux reflexions critique de M. Duhamel sur le système cartésian de M. Régis" (Paris, 1692). Among his other works we may also mention his "Usage de la raison et de la foi, ou l'accord de la raison et de la foi", with a "Réfutation de l'opinion de Spinoza, touchant l'existence et la nature de Dieu".

Fontenelle, Eloge de Régis in uvres, VI (Paris, 1790); Bordas-Dumoulin, Le Cartésianisme ou la véritable rénovation des sciences, I (Paris, 1843); Damiron, Essai sur l'historie de la philosophie cartésienne au XVIIe siècle, I (3rd ed., Paris, 1868); Frank in Dictionarre des sciences philosophiques, s.v., an extract from the preceding work.

GEORGE M. SAUVAGE