Was Descartes, founder of modern philosophy, murdered?
Yes, according to academic Theodor Ebert ? poisoned by an arsenic-laced communion wafer given to him by a Catholic priest.
The more common theory was that Descartes died from the winter cold and early morning hours imposed upon him by Queen Christina of Sweden, his student.
However, Descartes’s doctor described having found “something wrong” in Descartes urine ? blood, Edbert concludes: “That is not a symptom of pneumonia; it is a symptom of poisoning, chiefly of arsenic.” Also, Descartes asked his doctor to prescribe an emetic to make him throw up, which Ebert believes shows that Descartes may have believed he had been poisoned.
Ebert researched this for a long time, and I have to assume he did his homework. I’m unable to find the title of his new book, but I hope it helps to answer some of the questions that come to mind: How much arsnic can one get on a communion wafer? for example, and couldn’t it be tasted?
For more on this, see this article in the U.K. Guardian:
Also, this blog post adds to the discussion:
I'm looking forward, as well, to scholarly proof — although I personally doubt that it will be convincing.
Speculation. He is a Perfect candidate for removal, as to his Participation in the religious procedure, many do it so as to prevent undue antagonism of a respected friend.
Looking forward to reading scholarly proof.
If Descartes's thinking was "incompatible with the belief of transubstantiation" why would he have bothered to take communion from a Catholic priest? Maybe he did because he was making a deathbed reconciliation with the Church, therefore he was already very sick from something other than the communion wafer. Like pneumonia, for instance?
As for blood in urine, it can be a symptom of a variety of medical conditions, the most obvious diagnosis being a UTI. Imagine the sensational headline: "Descartes died from UTI, not pneumonia!" Oh, wait, maybe that wouldn't sell that much copy after all.
Of course we have to wait for the book to see whether it contains anything other than wild-eyed speculation. To be followed, Sandra… I count on you to keep us abreast of this fascinating conspiracy theory!