Descartes on Forms and Mechanisms

Descartes on Forms and Mechanisms

by Helen Hattab
     
 

ISBN-10: 052151892X

ISBN-13: 9780521518925

Pub. Date: 07/23/2009

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

The modern view of causation can be traced back to the mechanistic science of Descartes, whose rejection of Aristotelian physics, with its concept of substantial forms, in favor of mechanical explanations was a turning-point in the history of philosophy. However the reasoning which led Descartes and other early moderns in this direction is not well understood. This

Overview

The modern view of causation can be traced back to the mechanistic science of Descartes, whose rejection of Aristotelian physics, with its concept of substantial forms, in favor of mechanical explanations was a turning-point in the history of philosophy. However the reasoning which led Descartes and other early moderns in this direction is not well understood. This book traces Descartes' groundbreaking theory of scientific explanation back to the mathematical demonstrations of Aristotelian mechanics and interprets these advances in light of the available arguments for and against substantial forms. It also examines how Descartes' new theory led him to develop a metaphysical foundation for his science that could avoid skeptical objections. It will appeal to a wide range of readers interested in the philosophy and science of the early modern period.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521518925
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
07/23/2009
Pages:
246
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. Resurrecting the Substantial Form: 1. Descartes' arguments against the substantial form; 2. Aquinas' introduction of the substantial form; 3. Suarez's defense of the substantial form; Part II. Challenging the Substantial Form: 4. Sanchez's skeptical humanist attack; 5. The mechanical alternative to substantial forms; 6. Cartesian science and the principles of mechanics; Part III. Eliminating Substantial Forms: 7. Atoms, modes and other heresies; 8. Descartes' metaphysical alternative to substantial forms; Conclusion.

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