Regis, Peter Sylvan

, a French philosopher, and great propagator of Cartesianism, was born in Agenois, in 1632. He cultivated the languages and philosophy under the Jesuits at Cahors, and afterwards divinity in the university of that town, being designed for the church. He made so uncommon a progress, that at the end of four years he was offered a doctor’s degree without the usual charges; but he did not think it became him to accept of it till he had studied also in the Sorbonne at Paris. He went thither, but was soon disgusted with theology; and, as the philosophy of Des Cartes was at that time drawing public attention, through the lectures of Rohault, he became attached to it, and went to Toulouse in 1665, where | he read lectures on the subject. Having a clear and fluent manner, and a facility in making himself understood, he was honoured, as his auditors, by the magistrates, the learned, the ecclesiastics, and even the ladies, who all affected to abjure the ancient philosophy. In 1680, he returned to Paris; where the concourse about him was such, that the Aristotelians applied to the archbishop of Paris, who thought it expedient, in the name of the king, to put a stop to the lectures; and they were accordingly discontinued for several months. The whole life of Regis, however, was spent in propagating the new philosophy. In 1690, he published a formal system of it, containing logic, metaphysics, physics, and morals, in 3 vols. 4to, and written in French. It was reprinted, the year after, at Amsterdam, with the addition of a discourse upon ancient and modern philosophy. He wrote afterwards several pieces in defence of his system in which he had disputes with M. Huet, Du Hamel, Malebranche, and others. His works, though abounding with ingenuity and learning, have been disregarded in consequence of the great discoveries and advancement in philosophic knowledge that have been since made. He died in 1707. He had been chosen member of the academy of sciences in 1699. 1


Niceron, vol. VI. —Dict. Hist.