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Desmond M. Clarke is Professor (emeritus) of Philosophy at University College Cork and is one of Ireland’s most distinguished internationally recognised scholars. His work on the history and philosophy of science has contributed to fundamental transformations of the understanding of the historiography of philosophy generally, and the development of science in the seventeenth century, and in particular, Descartes’ philosophy of science and Cartesian science in France.

Professor Clarke stands out for his comprehension of the history and philosophy of science, and the rigour and clarity of his analyses of original texts. He was the sole author or editor of fifteen books, five of which have been with Oxford or Cambridge university presses and two of which were Penguin Classics.

One of Clarke’s most remarkable achievements was his founding, editing, and general management of the series Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy. Through this series the range of works Professor Clarke has made available to scholars and students is immense, stretching from Greek antiquity to the twentieth century.

The focus of Clarke’s work was never limited to the history and philosophy of science and he is described as having virtually encyclopaedic interests. He has written with distinction on every subject he has addressed ranging from Irish constitutional law to the epistemology of religious belief and Descartes’s theory of mind.

Clarke is also a public intellectual. His philosophical contributions on radio, television and in the print media (for example his discussion of state funding of religious schools in the papers today) enhance the quality of debate on and our understanding of many aspects of Irish life and society.