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  1. Form, Substance, and Mechanism.Robert Pasnau - 2004 - Philosophical Review 113 (1):31-88.
    Philosophers today have largely given up on the project of categorizing being. Aristotle’s ten categories now strike us as quaint, and no attempt to improve on that effort meets with much interest. Still, no one supposes that reality is smoothly distributed over space. The world at large comes in chunks, and there remains a widespread intuition, even among philosophers, that some of these chunks have a special sort of unity and persistence. These, we tend to suppose, are most truly agents (...)
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  • Descartes on the Infinity of Space Vs. Time.Geoffrey Gorham - 2018 - In Ohad Nachtomy & Reed Winegar (eds.), Infinity in Early Modern Philosophy. Berlin: Brill. pp. 45-61.
    In two rarely discussed passages – from unpublished notes on the Principles of Philosophy and a 1647 letter to Chanut – Descartes argues that the question of the infinite extension of space is importantly different from the infinity of time. In both passages, he is anxious to block the application of his well-known argument for the indefinite extension of space to time, in order to avoid the theologically problematic implication that the world has no beginning. Descartes concedes that we always (...)
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  • Spinoza on Action and Immanent Causation.Stephen Zylstra - 2020 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 102 (1):29-55.
    I address an apparent conflict between Spinoza’s concepts of immanent causation and acting/doing [agere]. Spinoza apparently holds that an immanent cause undergoes [patitur] whatever it does. Yet according to his stated definition of acting and undergoing in the Ethics, this is impossible; to act is to be an adequate cause, while to undergo is to be merely a partial cause. Spinoza also seems committed to God’s being the adequate cause of all things, and, in a well-known passage, appears to deny (...)
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  • Descartes, Spacetime, and Relational Motion.Edward Slowik - 1999 - Philosophy of Science 66 (1):117-139.
    This paper examines Descartes' problematic relational theory of motion, especially when viewed within the context of his dynamics, the Cartesian natural laws. The work of various commentators on Cartesian motion is also surveyed, with particular emphasis placed upon the recent important texts of Garber and Des Chene. In contrast to the methodology of most previous interpretations, however, this essay employs a modern "spacetime" approach to the problem. By this means, the role of dynamics in Descartes' theory, which has often been (...)
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  • Descartes' Forgotten Hypotheses on Motion.Edward Slowik - 2002 - Journal of Philosophical Research 27:433-448.
    This essay explores two of the more neglected hypotheses that comprise, or supplement, Descartes’ relationalist doctrine of bodily motion. These criteria are of great importance, for they would appear to challenge Descartes’ principal judgment that motion is a purely reciprocal change of a body’s contiguous neighborhood. After critiquing the work of the few commentators who have previously examined these forgotten hypotheses, mainly, D. Garber and M. Gueroult, the overall strengths and weaknesses of Descartes’ supplementary criteria will be assessed. Overall, despite (...)
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  • Late-Scholastic and Cartesian Conatus.Rodolfo Garau - 2014 - Intellectual History Review 24 (4):479-494.
    Introduction Conatus is a specific concept within Descartes’s physics. In particular, it assumes a crucial importance in the purely mechanistic description of the nature of light – an issue that Des- cartes considered one of the most crucial challenges, and major achievements, of his natural phil- osophy. According to Descartes’s cosmology, the universe – understood as a material continuum in which there is no vacuum – is composed of a number of separate yet interconnected vortices. Each of these vortices consists (...)
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  • Hobbes: Metaphysics and Method.Stewart D. R. Duncan - 2003 - Dissertation, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick
    This dissertation discusses the work of Thomas Hobbes, and has two main themes. The first is Hobbes's materialism, and the second is Hobbes's relationships to other philosophers, in particular his place in the mechanist movement that is said to have replaced Aristotelianism as the dominant philosophy in the seventeenth century. -/- I argue that Hobbes does not, for most of his career, believe the general materialist view that bodies are the only substances. He believes, rather, that ideas, which are our (...)
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  • Obscurity and Confusion: Nonreductionism in Descartes's Biology and Philosophy.Barnaby Hutchins - 2016 - Dissertation, Ghent University
    Descartes is usually taken to be a strict reductionist, and he frequently describes his work in reductionist terms. This dissertation, however, makes the case that he is a nonreductionist in certain areas of his philosophy and natural philosophy. This might seem like simple inconsistency, or a mismatch between Descartes's ambitions and his achievements. I argue that here it is more than that: nonreductionism is compatible with his wider commitments, and allowing for irreducibles increases the explanatory power of his system. Moreover, (...)
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  • On the Supposed Connection Between Aristotle’s Metaphysics and Logic.John Ian K. Boongaling - 2018 - Problemos 93.
    [full article, abstract in English; only abstract in Lithuanian] This paper investigates a particular strategy for establishing the deep connection between metaphysics and logic using Aristotle’s principle of non-contradiction and the theory of predication. The decisive move, according to this strategy, is to formulate and interpret the said principle as a metaphysical principle. In this paper, it is argued that: despite the strategy’s initial appeal, a successful argument still needs to be made in order to fully establish that metaphysics and (...)
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  • The Case Against Powers.Walter Ott - forthcoming - In Stathis Psillos, Benjamin Hill & Henrik Lagerlund (eds.), Causal Powers in Science: Blending Historical and Conceptual Perspectives. Oxford University Press.
    Powers ontologies are currently enjoying a resurgence. This would be dispiriting news for the moderns; in their eyes, to imbue bodies with powers is to slide back into the scholastic slime from which they helped philosophy crawl. I focus on Descartes’s ‘little souls’ argument, which points to a genuine and, I think persisting, defect in powers theories. The problem is that an Aristotelian power is intrinsic to whatever has it. Once this move is accepted, it becomes very hard to see (...)
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  • Locke's Theory of Classification.Judith Crane - 2003 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 11 (2):249 – 259.
    Locke is often cited as a precursor to contemporary natural kind realism. However, careful attention to Locke’s arguments show that he was unequivocally a conventionalist about natural kinds. To the extent that contemporary natural kind realists see themselves as following Locke, they misunderstand what he was trying to do. Locke argues that natural kinds require either dubious metaphysical commitments (e.g., to substantial forms or universals), or a question-begging version of essentialism. Contemporary natural kind realists face a similar dilemma, and should (...)
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  • Francis Bacon y la concepción aristotélica del movimiento en los siglos XVI y XVII.Silvia Manzo - 2004 - Revista de Filosofía (Madrid) 29 (1):77-97.
    La crítica que Francis Bacon dirigió a la concepción aristotélica del movimiento no tuvo como punto de partida las obras originales de Aristóteles sino la vasta literatura de texto que durante los siglos XVI y XVII ofrecía una interpretación novedosa y ecléctica del pensamiento aristotélico. En este trabajo analizo la crítica de Bacon concentrándome en los textos aristotélicos más corrientes de su medio intelectual (Magirus, Keckermann, Conimbricenses, Toledo, Zabarella). El artículo está dividido en tres secciones: la crítica epistemológica, la crítica (...)
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  • Hipótesis y certeza moral: la crítica de Descartes a las causas eficientes.Sergio García Rodríguez - 2017 - Eidos: Revista de Filosofía de la Universidad Del Norte 27:174-198.
    RESUMEN La interpretación habitual de Descartes sostiene que la nueva ciencia cartesiana es resultado del remplazo, en las explicaciones científicas, de las causas finales y formales por las causas eficientes. Si bien dicha afirmación en líneas generales es correcta, se ha tendido a asumir que las causas eficientes no entrañan problema alguno. Este artículo desea cuestionar dicha asunción, poniendo de manifiesto una serie de problemáticas concernientes a la cognoscibilidad de las causas eficientes. ABSTRACT The common interpretation of Descartes argues that (...)
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  • The Return of Causal Powers?Andreas Hüttemann - forthcoming - In Stathis Psillos, Henrik Lagerlund & Benjamin Hill (eds.), Causal Powers in Science: Blending Historical and Conceptual Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Powers, capacities and dispositions (in what follows I will use these terms synonymously) have become prominent in recent debates in metaphysics, philosophy of science and other areas of philosophy. In this paper I will analyse in some detail a well-known argument from scientific practice to the existence of powers/capacities/dispositions. According to this argument the practice of extrapolating scientific knowledge from one kind of situation to a different kind of situation requires a specific interpretation of laws of nature, namely as attributing (...)
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  • “Nothing in Nature Is Naturally a Statue”: William of Ockham on Artifacts.Jack Zupko - 2018 - Metaphysics 1 (1):88-96.
    Among medieval Aristotelians, William of Ockham defends a minimalist account of artifacts, assigning to statues and houses and beds a unity that is merely spatial or locational rather than metaphysical. Thus, in contrast to his predecessors, Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus, he denies that artifacts become such by means of an advening ‘artificial form’ or ‘form of the whole’ or any change that might tempt us to say that we are dealing with a new thing (res). Rather, he understands artifacts (...)
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  • Substance and Independence in Descartes.Anat Schechtman - 2016 - Philosophical Review 125 (2):155-204.
    Descartes notoriously characterizes substance in two ways: first, as an ultimate subject of properties ; second, as an independent entity. The characterizations have appeared to many to diverge on the definition as well as the scope of the notion of substance. For it is often thought that the ultimate subject of properties need not—and, in some cases, cannot—be independent. Drawing on a suite of historical, textual, and philosophical considerations, this essay argues for an interpretation that reconciles Descartes's two characterizations. It (...)
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  • Form and Function in the Early Enlightenment.Noga Arikha - 2006 - Perspectives on Science 14 (2):153-188.
    Many physicians, anatomists and natural philosophers engaged in attempts to map the seat of the soul during the so-called Scientific Revolution of the European seventeenth century. The history of these efforts needs to be told in light of the puzzlement bred by today's strides in the neurological sciences. The accounts discussed here, most centrally by Nicolaus Steno, Claude Perrault and Thomas Willis, betray the acknowledgement that a gap remained between observable form, on the one hand, and motor and sensory functions, (...)
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  • Du Châtelet on Freedom, Self-Motion, and Moral Necessity.Julia Jorati - 2019 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 57 (2):255-280.
    This paper explores the theory of freedom that Emilie du Châtelet advances in her essay “On Freedom.” Using contemporary terminology, we can characterize this theory as a version of agent-causal compatibilism. More specifically, the theory has the following elements: (a) freedom consists in the power to act in accordance with one’s choices, (b) freedom requires the ability to suspend desires and master passions, (c) freedom requires a power of self-motion in the agent, and (d) freedom is compatible with moral necessity (...)
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  • Tiempo serial y experiencia del tiempo. Un debate en clave cartesiana.Diana María Acevedo-Zapata - 2017 - Dianoia 62 (79):103-122.
    Resumen: Propongo una crítica a la noción de serialidad en la comprensión del concepto de tiempo en el contexto de los estudios cartesianos. En el debate entre los defensores del tiempo continuo y quienes defienden un tiempo discreto, sostengo que ninguna de estas posiciones tiene en cuenta que la serialidad se enmarca en una noción de tiempo que se concibe como divisible y numerable y que no pertenece intrínsecamente a la naturaleza de la experiencia temporal del cogito. Mi propuesta consiste (...)
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  • The Concept of Space and the Metaphysics of Extended Substance in Descartes.Joseph Zepeda - 2014 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 31 (1):21-40.
    This essay offers an interpretation of Descartes’ treatment of the concepts of place and space in the Principles of Philosophy. On the basis of that interpretation, I argue that his understanding and application of the concept of space supports a pluralist interpretation of Descartes on extended substance. I survey the Scholastic evolution of issues in the Aristotelian theory of place and clarify elements of Descartes’ appropriation and transformation thereof: the relationship between internal and external place, the precise content of the (...)
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  • Agents, Objects, and Their Powers in Suarez and Hobbes.Thomas Pink - 2018 - Philosophical Explorations 21 (1):3-24.
    The paper examines the place of power in the action theories of Francisco Suarez and Thomas Hobbes. Power is the capacity to produce or determine outcomes. Two cases of power are examined. The first is freedom or the power of agents to determine for themselves what they do. The second is motivation, which involves a power to which agents are subject, and by which they are moved to pursue a goal. Suarez, in the Metaphysical Disputations, uses Aristotelian causation to model (...)
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  • The Unity of Efficient and Final Causality: The Mind/Body Problem Reconsidered.Henrik Lagerlund - 2011 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (4):587 - 603.
    In this paper, I argue that it is in the fourteenth century that the problem of the compatibility or unity of efficient and final causality emerges. William Ockham and John Buridan start to flirt with a mechanized view of nature solely explainable by efficient causality, and they hence push final causality into the human mind and use it to explain for example action, morality and the good. Their argumentation introduces the problem of how to give a unified account of the (...)
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  • Locke Vs. Boyle: The Real Essence of Corpuscular Species.Jan-Erik Jones - 2007 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 15 (4):659 – 684.
    While the tradition of Locke scholarship holds that both Locke and Boyle are species anti-realists, there is evidence that this interpretation is false. Specifically, there has been some recent work on Boyle showing that he is, unlike Locke, a species realist. In this paper I argue that once we see Boyle as a realist about natural species, it is plausible to read some of Locke’s most formidable anti-realist arguments as directed specifically at Boyle’s account of natural species. This is a (...)
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  • Spinoza's Essentialist Model of Causation.Valtteri Viljanen - 2008 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):412 – 437.
    Spinoza is most often seen as a stern advocate of mechanistic efficient causation, but examining his philosophy in relation to the Aristotelian tradition reveals this view to be misleading: some key passages of the Ethics resemble so much what Surez writes about emanation that it is most natural to situate Spinoza's theory of causation not in the context of the mechanical sciences but in that of a late scholastic doctrine of the emanative causality of the formal cause; as taking a (...)
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  • Cartesian Temporal Atomism: A New Defence, a New Refutation.Geoffrey Gorham - 2008 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 16 (3):625 – 637.
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  • Cartesian Functional Analysis.Deborah J. Brown - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (1):75 - 92.
    Despite eschewing the utility of ends or purposes in natural philosophy, Descartes frequently engages in functional explanation, which many have assumed is an essentially teleological form of explanation. This article considers the consistency of Descartes's appeal to natural functions, advancing the idea that he is utilizing a non-normative, non-teleological form of functional explanation. It will be argued that Cartesian functional analysis resembles modern causal functional analysis, and yet, by emphasizing the interdependency of parts of biological systems, is able to avoid (...)
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  • Spinoza’s Metaphysics of Substance: The Substance‐Mode Relation as a Relation of Inherence and Predication.Yitzhak Y. Melamed - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (1):17-82.
    In his groundbreaking work of 1969, Spinoza's Metaphysics: An Essay in Interpretation, Edwin Curley attacked the traditional understanding of the substance-mode relation in Spinoza, according to which modes inhere in substance. Curley argued that such an interpretation generates insurmountable problems, as had already been claimed by Pierre Bayle in his famous Dictionary entry on Spinoza. Instead of having modes inhere in substance Curley suggested that the modes’ dependence upon substance should be interpreted in terms of (efficient) causation, i.e., as committing (...)
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  • René Descartes.Gary Hatfield - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    This version has been superseded by the one published in Spring, 2014.
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  • On The Relation Between Science and the Scientific Worldview.Josh Reeves - 2013 - Heythrop Journal 54 (4):554-562.
    It has been widely believed since the nineteenth century that modern science provides a serious challenge to religion, but less agreement as to the reason. One main complication is that whenever there has been broad consensus for a scientific theory that challenges traditional religious doctrines, one finds religious believers endorsing the theory or even formulating it. As a result, atheists who argue for the incompatibility of science and religion often go beyond the religious implications of individual scientific theories, arguing that (...)
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  • Leibniz on Natural Teleology and the Laws of Optics.Jeffrey K. McDonough - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (3):505-544.
    This essay examines one of the cornerstones of Leibniz's defense of teleology within the order of nature. The first section explores Leibniz's contributions to the study of geometrical optics, and argues that his "Most Determined Path Principle" or "MDPP" allows him to bring to the fore philosophical issues concerning the legitimacy of teleological explanations by addressing two technical objections raised by Cartesians to non-mechanistic derivations of the laws of optics. The second section argues that, by drawing on laws such as (...)
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  • Calvinist Metaphysics and the Eucharist in the Early Seventeenth Century.Giovanni Gellera - 2013 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (6):1091-1110.
    This paper wishes to make a contribution to the study of how seventeenth-century scholasticism adapted to the new intellectual challenges presented by the Reformation. I focus in particular on the theory of accidents, which Reformed scholastic philosophers explored in search of a philosophical understanding of the rejection of the Catholic and Lutheran interpretations of the Eucharist. I argue that the Calvinist scholastics chose the view that actual inherence is part of the essence of accidents because it was coherent with their (...)
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  • Descartes on the Identity of Passion and Action.Joel A. Schickel - 2011 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (6):1067 - 1084.
    According to the standard Aristotelian doctrine of the identity of passion and action (Ipa), a passion and the action with which it is identified are distinguished through a distinction of reason, and both passion and action are located in the patient. Descartes has recently been interpreted by some scholars to be rejecting Ipa in favor of a view that throws into contention a dualistic interpretation of his philosophy of mind. This article contends that Descartes did hold Ipa, albeit expressed in (...)
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  • The Metaphysical Roots of Cartesian Physics: The Law of Rectilinear Motion.Geoffrey Gorham - 2005 - Perspectives on Science 13 (4):431-451.
    : This paper presents a detailed account of Descartes' derivation of his second law of nature—the law of rectilinear motion—from a priori metaphysical principles. Unlike the other laws the proof of the second depends essentially on a metaphysical assumption about the temporal immediacy of God's operation. Recent commentators (e.g., Des Chene and Garber) have not adequately explained the precise role of this assumption in the proof and Descartes' reasoning has continued to seem somewhat arbitrary as a result. My account better (...)
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  • What To Do With Seventeenth-Century Natural Philosophy? A Taxonomic Problem.Christoph Luthy - 2000 - Perspectives on Science 8 (2):164-195.
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  • Honoré Fabri and the Trojan Horse of Inertia.Michael Elazar - 2008 - Science in Context 21 (1):1-38.
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  • The Problem of Secondary Causation in Descartes: A Response to Des Chene.Helen Hattab - 2000 - Perspectives on Science 8 (2):93-118.
    : In this paper I address the vexed question of secondary causation in René Descartes' physics, and examine several influential interpretations, especially the one recently proposed by Dennis Des Chene. I argue that interpreters who regard Cartesian bodies as real secondary causes, on the grounds that the modes of body include real forces, contradict Descartes' account of modes. On the other hand, those who deny that Descartes affirms secondary causation, on the grounds that forces cannot be modes of extension, commit (...)
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  • On Dennis Des Chene's Physiologia.Stephen Menn - 2000 - Perspectives on Science 8 (2):119-143.
    Dennis Des Chene's Physiologia: Natural Philosophy in Late Aristotelian and Cartesian Thought reconstructs the discourse of late scholastic natural philosophy, and assesses Descartes' agreements and disagreements. In a critical discussion, I offer a different interpretation of late scholastic theories of final causality and of God's concursus with created efficient causes. Fonseca's and Suárez' conceptions of final causality in nature depend on their claim that a single action can be the action of two agents at once--in particular, of God and of (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Rest in Descartes and Malebranche.Tad M. Schmaltz - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (1):21-40.
    I consider a somewhat obscure but important feature of Descartes’s physics that concerns the notion of the “force of rest.” Contrary to a prominent occasionalist interpretation of Descartes’s physics, I argue that Descartes himself attributes real forces to resting bodies. I also take his account of rest to conflict with the view that God conserves the world by “re-creating” it anew at each moment. I turn next to the role of rest in Malebranche. Malebranche takes Descartes to endorse his own (...)
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  • On Laws and Ends: A Response to Hattab and Menn.Dennis Des Chene - 2000 - Perspectives on Science 8 (2):144-163.
    From the topics discussed by Hattab and Menn, I examine two of special importance. The first is that of active powers: does the Cartesian natural world contain any, or is the apparent efficacy of natural agents always to be referred to God? In arguing that it is, I consider, following Hattab, Descartes' characterization of natural laws as "secondary causes." The second topic is that of ends. Menn argues, and I agree, that in late Aristotelianism Aristotle's own conception of an "art (...)
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  • God and the Natural World in the Seventeenth Century: Space, Time, and Causality.Geoffrey Gorham - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (5):859-872.
    The employment by seventeenth-century natural philosophers of stock theological notions like creation, immensity, and eternity in the articulation and justification of emerging physical programs disrupted a delicate but longstanding balance between transcendent and immanent conceptions of God. By playing a prominent (if not always leading) role in many of the major scientific developments of the period, God became more intimately involved with natural processes than at any time since antiquity. In this discussion, I am particularly concerned with the causal and (...)
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  • Leibniz on Causation – Part 2.Julia Jorati - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (6):398-405.
    Leibniz is almost unique among early modern philosophers in giving final causation a central place in his metaphysical system. All changes in created substances, according to Leibniz, have final causes, that is, occur for the sake of some end. There is, however, no consensus among commentators about the details of Leibniz's views on final causation. The least perfect types of changes that created substances undergo are especially puzzling because those changes seem radically different from paradigmatic instances of final causation. Building (...)
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  • Cartesian Substances, Individual Bodies, and Corruptibility.Dan Kaufman - 2014 - Res Philosophica 91 (1):71-102.
    According to the Monist Interpretation of Descartes, there is really only one corporeal substance—the entire extended plenum. Evidence for this interpretation seems to be provided by Descartes in the Synopsis of the Meditations, where he claims that all substances are incorruptible. Finite bodies, being corruptible, would then fail to be substances. On the other hand, ‘body, taken in the general sense,’ being incorruptible, would be a corporeal substance. In this paper, I defend a Pluralist Interpretation of Descartes, according to which (...)
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  • Philosophy, Early Modern Intellectual History, and the History of Philosophy.Michael Edwards - 2012 - Metaphilosophy 43 (1-2):82-95.
    Historians of philosophy are increasingly likely to emphasize the extent to which their work offers a pay‐off for philosophers of un‐historical or anti‐historical inclinations; but this defence is less familiar, and often seems less than self‐evident, to intellectual historians. This article examines this tendency, arguing that such arguments for the instrumental value of historical scholarship in philosophy are often more problematic than they at first appear. Using the relatively familiar case study of René Descartes' reading of his scholastic and Aristotelian (...)
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  • Margaret Cavendish on the Relation Between God and World.Karen Detlefsen - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (3):421-438.
    It has often been noted that Margaret Cavendish discusses God in her writings on natural philosophy far more than one might think she ought to given her explicit claim that a study of God belongs to theology which is to be kept strictly separate from studies in natural philosophy. In this article, I examine one way in which God enters substantially into her natural philosophy, namely the role he plays in her particular version of teleology. I conclude that, while Cavendish (...)
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  • John Buridan.Jack Zupko - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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