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What is interesting about all this is that it could be read as an attempt at defending a coherentist epistemology (see the section on Part Two). While Descartes is ultimately loyal to a foundationalist epistemology, claiming that everything can be derived from his first principles, he is asking his readers to rest content with something else. Neither his suppositions nor the results that he infers from them have the kind of certainty that Descartes claims he can find, but he hopes that the fact that suppositions and results hold together in a clear manner will be evidence enough for the time being.

Ultimately, we have come to see science not as a deduction from first principles, but as a set of theories confirmed by observation. Descartes's insistence on first principles of absolute certainty is, in a sense, a holdover from an earlier age.