David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Philosophical Quarterly 47 (2):187-202 (2007)
Any cognitive orientation toward nature is interconnected with how the metaphysical structure of nature itself is understood. In the Aristotelian tradition, the primary unit of being is considered to be the substantial form, which constitutes the being and essence of entities. In the mechanistic tradition, the primary units are considered to be minute particles out of which larger entities are constructed. Correspondingly, Aristotelian scientific methodology seeks to gain insight into the substantial forms through a study of the outer properties of entities. This is accomplished in demonstration. On the other hand, scientific methodology inthe mechanist tradition seeks to reduce entities to their smallest particles in order to determine how properties are produced through the interaction of such particles. This paper shows how, through certain transformations in Aristotelian techne, mechanistic metaphysics arose with its attendant methodological stance of seeking an operational knowledge of nature
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