Dennis Des Chene Washington University in St. Louis
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About me
I work primarily on the history of natural philosophy in the 17th and 18th centuries, with side interests in mathematics and æsthetics.
My works
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  1. C. Abel, T. Fuller, W. Aiken, J. Haldane, E. Alliez, W. P. Alston, G. E. M. Anscombe, R. Ariew, D. Des Chene & D. M. Jesseph (unknown). The Following Books Have Been Received, and Many of Them Are Available for Review. Interested Reviewers Please Contact the Reviews Editor: Jim. Oshea@ Ucd. Ie. [REVIEW] International Journal of Philosophical Studies 13 (4):543 - 551.
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  2. Dennis Des Chene (forthcoming). Puzzles and Revolutions. History of Science.
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  3. Jeffrey Bell, Nick Crossley, William O. Stephens, Shannon Sullivan, David Leary, Margaret Watkins, Robert Miner, Thornton Lockwood, Terrance MacMullan, Peter Fosl, Dennis Des Chene, Clare Carlisle & Edward Casey (2013). A History of Habit: From Aristotle to Bourdieu. Lexington Books.
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  4. Dennis Des Chene (2012). Natural Philosophy. Suśrez on Propinquity and the Efficient Cause. In Benjamin Hill & Henrik Lagerlund (eds.), The Philosophy of Francisco Suárez. Oup Oxford.
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  5. Dennis Des Chene (2012). Using the Passions. In Martin Pickavé & Lisa Shapiro (eds.), Emotion and Cognitive Life in Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
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  6. Dennis des Chene (2007). Descartes Reinvented (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (3):498-499.
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  7. Dennis Des Chene (2006). Animal as Category : Bayle's "Rorarius&Quot;. In Justin E. H. Smith (ed.), The Problem of Animal Generation in Early Modern Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
    A study of the problem of animal souls as treated by Pierre Bayle in his article on Rorarius in the Dictionnaire. Early modern philosophers, if they rejected dualism, tended—as Bayle shows—to be driven either to materialism or to panpsychism.
     
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  8. Dennis des Chene (2006). Régis and Rohault. In Don Rutherford (ed.), Cambridge companion to early modern philosophy.
    In the history of philosophy, Jacques Rohault and Pierre-Sylvain Régis bear a twofold burden. They are professed followers, epigones. Worse yet, the natural philosophy they teach has been consigned to the Tartarus of fable: not a theory that failed, but something that failed even to be a theory. In the years in which they were turning Cartesianism into a system, Newton and Huygens were preparing its demise. Its empirical claims were refuted, its mathematics was rendered obsolete by the calculus, its (...)
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  9. Dennis Des Chene (2006). Review Essay: Descartes' Theory of Mind, by Desmond Clarke. In Daniel Garber & Steven Nadler (eds.), Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy Volume 3. Clarendon Press.
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  10. Dennis des Chene (2005). Cogito, Ergo Sum: The Life of Rene Descartes (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 43 (1):113-115.
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  11. Dennis Des Chene (2003). Life After Descartes: Régis on Generation. Perspectives on Science 11 (4):410-420.
  12. Dennis Des Chene (2001). Descartes in His Time and Space. Early Science and Medicine 6 (4):353-361.
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  13. Dennis des Chene (2000). Life's Form: Late Aristotelian Conceptions of the Soul. Cornell University Press.
    Finally, he looks at,the various kinds of unity of the body, both in itself and in its union with the soul.Spirits and Clocks continues Des Chene's highly ...
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  14. Dennis Des Chene (2000). On Laws and Ends: A Response to Hattab and Menn. 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 (...)
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  15. Dennis Des Chene (1997). Don Garrett, Ed., The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 17 (1):33-35.
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  16. Dennis Des Chene (1996). Physiologia: Natural Philosophy in Late Aristotelian and Cartesian Thought. Cornell University Press.
    Physiologia is one of the first books to provide an accessible and comprehensive guide to that tradition in natural philosophy.
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  17. Dennis Des Chene (1995). Cartesiomania: Early Receptions of Descartes. Perspectives on Science 3:534-581.
     
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  18. Dennis Des Chene, Animal as Concept: Bayle's “Rorarius”.
    Bayle's article on Rorarius, author of a work purporting to demonstrate that animals reason better than humans, describes and rejects all but one of the current opinions concerning the souls of animals. That survivor is Leibniz's theory of monads, but Bayle cannot accept pre-established harmony, and so Leibniz goes by the wayside too. Bayle exhibits clearly the consequences of Cartesianism for attempts to distinguish us from the animals. The alternatives are reduced to two: either we do not have an immortal (...)
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  19. Dennis des Chene, Review of Richard Watson, Cogito Ergo Sum (Boston: David Godine, 2002). [REVIEW]
    Somewhere between hagiography and debunking lies truth. Or so we may think: the biographer’s sources are almost always tipped one way or the other, and it is his or her job to establish, or divine, the way of authentic fact and, if facts fall short, then of sturdy sober hypothesis. In general the debunker has more fun, especially when the weight of tradition favors the ennobling, if not the beatification, of its subject.
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  20. Dennis des Chene, Seventeenth-Century Self-Movers.
    The notion of an automaton, as it is employed in the natural philosophy of Descartes and his closest followers, has three main components. None of them is new; what is new in early modern philosophy is the uses to which this old notion is put, and the idiosyncrasies into which its components are combined by subsequent philosophers. The thaumaturgic element is never entirely suppressed; but the more down-to-earth usage exemplified in antiquity by Aristotle’s references predominates. The automaton is quite often (...)
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  21. Dennis Des Chene, Eternal Truths and Laws of Nature.
    Are the laws of nature among the eternal truths that, according to Descartes, are created by God? The basis of those laws is the immutability of the divine will, which is not an eternal truth, but a divine attribute. On the other hand, the realization of those laws, and in particular, the quantitative consequences to be drawn from them, depend upon the eternal truths insofar as those truths include the foundations of geometry and arithmetic.
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  22. Dennis Des Chene, Souls: Sensitive & Separated.
    Aristotle was usually thought to have given two definitions of the soul in the second book of De Anima. The second of these calls it “that by which we live, feel, and think”.1 Of the soul’s three par ts, the vegetative is that by which we live, the sensitive that by which we feel, the rational that by which we think. Human souls have all three parts; animals the vegetative and sensitive; plants only the vegetative.
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  23. Dennis des Chene, How the World Became Mathematical.
    My title, of course, is an exaggeration. The world no more became mathematical in the seventeenth century than it became ironic in the nineteenth. Either it was mathematical all along, and seventeenth-century philosophers discovered it was, or, if it wasn’t, it could not have been made so by a few books. What became mathematical was physics, and whether that has any bearing on the furniture of the universe is one topic of this paper. Garber says, and I agree, that for (...)
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  24. Dennis des Chene, Natural Laws and Divine Agency in the Later Seventeenth Century.
    It is a commonplace that one of the primary tasks of natural science is to discover the laws of nature. Those who don’t think that nature has laws will of course disagree; but of those who do, most will be in accord with Armstrong when he writes that natural science, having discovered the kinds and properties of things, should “state the laws” which those things “obey” (Armstrong What is a law 3). No Scholastic philosopher would have included the discovery of (...)
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