Holism in cartesianism and in today's philosophy of physics

Michael Esfeld
University of Lausanne
The aim of this paper is to contribute to a more balanced judgement than the widespread impression that the changes which are called for in today's philosophy of physics and which centre around the concept of holism amount to a rupture with the framework of Cartesian philosophy of physics. I argue that this framework includes a sort of holism: As a result of the identification of matter with space, any physical property can be instantiated only if there is the whole of matter. Relating this holism to general relativity, I maintain that this holism cannot be directly applied to today's philosophy of physics consequent upon the failure of geometrodynamics. I show in what respect precisely the holism in quantum physics amounts to a revision of the holism within Cartesianism.
Keywords Cartesianism  geometrodynamics  holism  non-separability  quantum entanglement
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DOI 10.1023/A:1008326613673
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Relational Holism and Quantum Mechanics1.Paul Teller - 1986 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 37 (1):71-81.
Quantum Physics and the Identity of Indiscernibles.Steven French & Michael Redhead - 1988 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 39 (2):233-246.

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