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Sensibility as vital force or as property of matter in mid-eighteenth-century debates

In Henry Martyn Lloyd (ed.), The Discourse of Sensibility: The Knowing Body in the Enlightenment. Springer. pp. 147-170 (2014)

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  1. Epigenesis as Spinozism in Diderot’s Biological Project (Draft).Charles T. Wolfe - 2014 - In O. Nachtomy J. E. H. Smith (ed.), The Life Sciences in Early Modern Philosophy. Oxford University Press. pp. 181-201.
    Denis Diderot’s natural philosophy is deeply and centrally ‘biologistic’: as it emerges between the 1740s and 1780s, thus right before the appearance of the term ‘biology’ as a way of designating a unified science of life (McLaughlin), his project is motivated by the desire both to understand the laws governing organic beings and to emphasize, more ‘philosophically’, the uniqueness of organic beings within the physical world as a whole. This is apparent both in the metaphysics of vital matter he puts (...)
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  • Materialism and ‘the Soft Substance of the Brain’: Diderot and Plasticity.Charles T. Wolfe - 2016 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (5):963-982.
    ABSTRACTMaterialism is the view that everything that is real is material or is the product of material processes. It tends to take either a ‘cosmological’ form, as a claim about the ultimate nature of the world, or a more specific ‘psychological’ form, detailing how mental processes are brain processes. I focus on the second, psychological or cerebral form of materialism. In the mid-to-late eighteenth century, the French materialist philosopher Denis Diderot was one of the first to notice that any self-respecting (...)
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