Physiologia provides an accessible and comprehensive guide to late Aristotelian naturalphilosophy; with that context in hand, it offers new interpretations of major themes in Descartes’s naturalphilosophy.
Prior to the nineteenth century, those who are now regarded as scientists were referred to as natural philosophers. With empiricism, science was claimed to be a superior form of knowledge to philosophy, and naturalphilosophy was marginalized. This claim for science was challenged by defenders of naturalphilosophy, and this debate has continued up to the present. The vast majority of mainstream scientists are comfortable in the belief that through applying the scientific method, knowledge (...) will continue to accumulate, and that claims to knowledge outside science apart from practical affairs should not be taken seriously. This is referred to as scientism. It is incumbent on those who defend naturalphilosophy against scientism not only to expose the illusions and incoherence of scientism, but to show that natural philosophers can make justifiable claims to advancing knowledge. By focusing on a recent characterization and defense of naturalphilosophy along with a reconstruction of the history of naturalphilosophy, showing the nature and role of Schelling’s conception of dialectical thinking, I will attempt to identify naturalphilosophy as a coherent tradition of thought and defend it as something different from science and as essential to it, and essential to the broader culture and to civilization. (shrink)
Paul Thagard uses new accounts of brain mechanisms and social interactions to forge theories of mind, knowledge, reality, morality, justice, meaning, and the arts. NaturalPhilosophy brings new methods for analyzing concepts, understanding values, and achieving coherence. It shows how to unify the humanities with the cognitive and social sciences.
A review of several theories and brain-imaging experiments shows that there is no consensus about how to define the sense of agency. In some cases the sense of agency is construed in terms of bodily movement or motor control, in others it is linked to the intentional aspect of action. For some theorists it is the product of higher-order cognitive processes, for others it is a feature of first-order phenomenal experience. In this article I propose a multiple aspects account of (...) the sense of agency. (shrink)
This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work. This work is in the public domain (...) in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work. As a reproduction of a historical artifact, this work may contain missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant. (shrink)
The central thesis of this book is that we need to reform philosophy and join it to science to recreate a modern version of naturalphilosophy; we need to do this in the interests of rigour, intellectual honesty, and so that science may serve the best interests of humanity. Modern science began as naturalphilosophy. In the time of Newton, what we call science and philosophy today – the disparate endeavours – formed one mutually (...) interacting, integrated endeavour of naturalphilosophy: to improve our knowledge and understanding of the universe, and to improve our understanding of ourselves as a part of it. Profound discoveries were made, indeed one should say unprecedented discoveries. It was a time of quite astonishing intellectual excitement and achievement. And then naturalphilosophy died. It split into science on the one hand, and philosophy on the other. This happened during the 18th and 19th centuries, and the split is now built into our intellectual landscape. But the two fragments, science and philosophy, are defective shadows of the glorious unified endeavour of naturalphilosophy. Rigour, sheer intellectual good sense and decisive argument demand that we put the two together again, and rediscover the immense merits of the integrated enterprise of naturalphilosophy. This requires an intellectual revolution, with dramatic implications for how we understand our world, how we understand and do science, and how we understand and do philosophy. There are dramatic implications, too, for education. And it does not stop there. For, as I show in the final chapter, resurrected naturalphilosophy has dramatic, indeed revolutionary methodological implications for social science and the humanities, indeed for the whole academic enterprise. It means academic inquiry needs to be reorganized so that it comes to take, as its basic task, to seek and promote wisdom by rational means, wisdom being the capacity to realize what is of value in life, for oneself and others, thus including knowledge, technological know-how and understanding, but much else besides. The outcome is institutions of learning rationally designed and devoted to helping us tackle our immense global problems in increasingly cooperatively rational ways, thus helping us make progress towards a good world – or at least as good a world as possible. (shrink)
"This book tries to assess Galileo's work in its historical singularity. It is constructed around a precise question: How did Galileo create the modern science of motion? Starting from this question, I shall go on to determine as accurately as I can what concepts and methods helped classical mechanics to take shape." [Preface].
Scholarly attempts to analyze the history of science sometime suffer from an imprecise use of terms. In order to understand accurately how science has developed and from where it draws its roots, researchers should be careful to recognize that epistemic regimes change over time and acceptable forms of knowledge production are contingent upon the hegemonic discourse informing the epistemic regime of any given period. In order to understand the importance of this point, I apply the techniques of historical epistemology to (...) an analysis of the place of the study of astrology in the medieval and early modern periods alongside a discussion of the “language games” of these period as well as the role of the “archeology of knowledge” in uncovering meaning in our study of the past. In sum, I argue that the term “science” should never be used when studying approaches to knowledge formation prior to the seventeenth century. (shrink)
I propose an approach to naturalized philosophy of science that takes the social nature of scientific practice seriously. I criticize several prominent naturalistic approaches for adopting "cognitive individualism", which limits the study of science to an examination of the internal psychological mechanisms of scientists. I argue that this limits the explanatory capacity of these approaches. I then propose a three-level model of the social nature of scientific practice, and use the model to defend the claim that scientific knowledge is (...) socially produced. (shrink)
Contemporary NaturalPhilosophy is understood here as a project of the pursuit of the integrated description of reality distinguished by the precisely formulated criteria of objectivity, and by the assumption that the statements of this description can be assessed only as true or false according to clearly specified verification procedures established with the exclusive goal of the discrimination between these two logical values, but not with respect to any other norms or values established by the preferences of human (...) collectives or by the individual choices. This distinction assumes only logical consistency, but not completeness. Completeness is desirable, but may be impossible. This paper is not intended as a comprehensive program for the development of the Contemporary NaturalPhilosophy but rather as a preparation for such program advocating some necessary revisions and extensions of the methodology currently considered as the scientific method. This is the actual focus of the paper and the reason for the reference to Baconian _idola mentis_. Francis Bacon wrote in _Novum Organum_ about the fallacies obstructing progress of science. The present paper is an attempt to remove obstacles for the Contemporary NaturalPhilosophy project to which we have assigned the names of the Idols of the Number, the Idols of the Common Sense, and the Idols of the Elephant. (shrink)
Peter Anstey presents a thorough and innovative study of John Locke's views on the method and content of naturalphilosophy. Focusing on Locke's Essay concerning Human Understanding, but also drawing extensively from his other writings and manuscript remains, Anstey argues that Locke was an advocate of the Experimental Philosophy: the new approach to naturalphilosophy championed by Robert Boyle and the early Royal Society who were opposed to speculative philosophy. On the question of method, (...) Anstey shows how Locke's pessimism about the prospects for a demonstrative science of nature led him, in the Essay, to promote Francis Bacon's method of natural history, and to downplay the value of hypotheses and analogical reasoning in science. But, according to Anstey, Locke never abandoned the ideal of a demonstrative naturalphilosophy, for he believed that if we could discover the primary qualities of the tiny corpuscles that constitute material bodies, we could then establish a kind of corpuscular metric that would allow us a genuine science of nature. It was only after the publication of the Essay, however, that Locke came to realize that Newton's Principia provided a model for the role of demonstrative reasoning in science based on principles established upon observation, and this led him to make significant revisions to his views in the 1690s. On the content of Locke's naturalphilosophy, it is argued that even though Locke adhered to the Experimental Philosophy, he was not averse to speculation about the corpuscular nature of matter. Anstey takes us into new terrain and new interpretations of Locke's thought in his explorations of his mercurialist transmutational chymistry, his theory of generation by seminal principles, and his conventionalism about species. (shrink)
The most comprehensive collection of essays on Descartes' scientific writings ever published, this volume offers a detailed reassessment of Descartes' scientific work and its bearing on his philosophy. The 35 essays, written by some of the world's leading scholars, cover topics as diverse as optics, cosmology and medicine, and will be of vital interest to all historians of philosophy or science.
I offer an alternative account of the relationship of Hobbesian geometry to naturalphilosophy by arguing that mixed mathematics provided Hobbes with a model for thinking about it. In mixed mathematics, one may borrow causal principles from one science and use them in another science without there being a deductive relationship between those two sciences. Naturalphilosophy for Hobbes is mixed because an explanation may combine observations from experience (the ‘that’) with causal principles from geometry (the (...) ‘why’). My argument shows that Hobbesian naturalphilosophy relies upon suppositions that bodies plausibly behave according to these borrowed causal principles from geometry, acknowledging that bodies in the world may not actually behave this way. First, I consider Hobbes's relation to Aristotelian mixed mathematics and to Isaac Barrow's broadening of mixed mathematics in Mathematical Lectures (1683). I show that for Hobbes maker's knowledge from geometry provides the ‘why’ in mixed-mathematical explanations. Next, I examine two explanations from De corpore Part IV: (1) the explanation of sense in De corpore 25.1-2; and (2) the explanation of the swelling of parts of the body when they become warm in De corpore 27.3. In both explanations, I show Hobbes borrowing and citing geometrical principles and mixing these principles with appeals to experience. (shrink)
Ernst Mayr argued that the emergence of biology as a special science in the early nineteenth century was possible due to the demise of the mathematical model of science and its insistence on demonstrative knowledge. More recently, John Zammito has claimed that the rise of biology as a special science was due to a distinctive experimental, anti-metaphysical, anti-mathematical, and anti-rationalist strand of thought coming from outside of Germany. In this paper we argue that this narrative neglects the important role played (...) by the mathematical and axiomatic model of science in the emergence of biology as a special science. We show that several major actors involved in the emergence of biology as a science in Germany were working with an axiomatic conception of science that goes back at least to Aristotle and was popular in mid-eighteenth-century German academic circles due to its endorsement by Christian Wolff. More specifically, we show that at least two major contributors to the emergence of biology in Germany—Caspar Friedrich Wolff and Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus—sought to provide a conception of the new science of life that satisfies the criteria of a traditional axiomatic ideal of science. Both C.F. Wolff and Treviranus took over strong commitments to the axiomatic model of science from major philosophers of their time, Christian Wolff and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, respectively. The ideal of biology as an axiomatic science with specific biological fundamental concepts and principles thus played a role in the emergence of biology as a special science. (shrink)
In recent years more and more scholars of early modern philosophy have come to acknowledge that our understanding of Descartes’s thought benefits greatly from consideration of his intellectual background. Research in this direction has taken off, but much work remains to be done. Dennis Des Chene offers a major contribution to this enterprise. This erudite book is the result of a very impressive body of research into a number of late Aristotelian scholastics, some fairly well known, such as Suárez, (...) others quite obscure. Two thirds of the book is devoted to the Aristotelians, with occasional references to Descartes; the last third focuses on Descartes, although there still much Aristotelian ground is covered. Des Chene indicates three major themes for his book: natural change and agency, the structure of material substance, and finality. (shrink)
Modern science began as naturalphilosophy. In the time of Newton, what we call science and philosophy today – the disparate endeavours – formed one mutually interacting, integrated endeavour of naturalphilosophy: to improve our knowledge and understanding of the universe, and to improve our understanding of ourselves as a part of it. Profound, indeed unprecedented discoveries were made. But then naturalphilosophy died. It split into science on the one hand, and (...) class='Hi'>philosophy on the other. This happened during the 18th and 19th centuries, and the split is now built into our intellectual landscape. But the two fragments, science and philosophy, are defective shadows of the glorious unified endeavour of naturalphilosophy. Rigour, sheer intellectual good sense and decisive argument demand that we put the two together again, and rediscover the immense merits of the integrated enterprise of naturalphilosophy. This requires an intellectual revolution, with dramatic implications for how we understand our world, how we understand and do science, and how we understand and do philosophy. There are dramatic implications, too, for education, and for the entire academic endeavour, and its capacity to help us discover how to tackle more successfully our immense global problems. (shrink)
Naturalism implies unity of method--an application of the methods of science to the methodology of science itself and to value theory. Epistemological naturalists have tried to find a privileged discipline to be the methodological model of philosophy of science and epistemology. However, since science itself is not unitary, the use of one science as a model amounts to a reduction and distorts the philosophy of science just as badly as traditional philosophy of science distorted science, despite the (...) fact that the central theme of naturalized philosophy of science is that methodology should be true to science as practiced. I argue that naturalized philosophy of science must apply a plurality of methods to epistemological issues. (shrink)
Towards the end of his life, Descartes published the first four parts of a projected six-part work, The Principles of Philosophy. This was intended to be the definitive statement of his complete system of philosophy, dealing with everything from cosmology to the nature of human happiness. In this book, Stephen Gaukroger examines the whole system, and reconstructs the last two parts, 'On Living Things' and 'On Man', from Descartes' other writings. He relates the work to the tradition of (...) late Scholastic textbooks which it follows, and also to Descartes' other philosophical writings, and he examines the ways in which Descartes transformed not only the practice of naturalphilosophy but also our understanding of what it is to be a philosopher. His book is a comprehensive examination of Descartes' complete philosophical system. (shrink)
Thomas Reid thinks of naturalphilosophy as a purely nomothetic enterprise but he maintains that it is proper for natural philosophers to employ causal terminology in formulating their explanatory claims. In this paper, I analyze this puzzle in light of Reid's distinction between efficient and physical causation – a distinction he grounds in his strict understanding of active powers. I consider several possible reasons that Reid may have for maintaining that natural philosophers ought to employ causal (...) terminology and suggest that the underlying rationale for his views is his understanding of the aims of explanation and their connection to the interests of human agents. The ultimate aim of knowing the causes of phenomena is to mollify the natural intellectual curiosity of human inquirers and provide guidance that insures successful action. The discovery of laws governing phenomena fulfills this aim and, as such, it is appropriate for natural philosophers to employ causal terminology. (shrink)
John Dewey’s pragmatism and naturalism are grounded on metaphysical tenets describing how mind’s intelligence is thoroughly natural in its activity and productivity. His worldview is best classified as Organic Realism, since it descended from the German organicism and Naturphilosophie of Herder, Schelling, and Hegel which shaped the major influences on his early thought. Never departing from its tenets, his later philosophy starting with Experience and Nature elaborated a philosophical organon about science, culture, and ethics to fulfill his particular (...) version of Organic Realism. (shrink)
although mostly known to specialists nowadays, Kenelm Digby was a remarkable figure on the intellectual scene of the early seventeenth century. He has been described as “one of the most influential natural philosophers” of his time,1 and corresponded with many of the great scholars of his days, including Descartes, and the French pioneer of atomism, Pierre Gassendi. In the later years of his life, Digby, alongside men like Robert Boyle, became one of the founding members of the Royal Society.2Digby (...) authored one major work of philosophy: the Two Treatises of 1644. This work consisted of a long First Treatise on bodies, and a shorter, Second Treatise on the human soul. In the First Treatise, Digby argued... (shrink)
Naturalphilosophy encompassed all natural phenomena of the physical world. It sought to discover the physical causes of all natural effects and was little concerned with mathematics. By contrast, the exact mathematical sciences were narrowly confined to various computations that did not involve physical causes, functioning totally independently of naturalphilosophy. Although this began slowly to change in the late Middle Ages, a much more thoroughgoing union of naturalphilosophy and mathematics occurred (...) in the seventeenth century and thereby made the Scientific Revolution possible. The title of Isaac Newton's great work, The Mathematical Principles of NaturalPhilosophy, perfectly reflects the new relationship. Naturalphilosophy became the 'Great Mother of the Sciences', which by the nineteenth century had nourished the manifold chemical, physical, and biological sciences to maturity, thus enabling them to leave the 'Great Mother' and emerge as the multiplicity of independent sciences we know today. (shrink)
In a much-revised version of his 1980 doctoral dissertation in the history of science for Princeton University, Kim examines the knowledge about the natural world that informed Chu Hsi's renowned neo-Confucian synthesis. He sets out his basic concepts, reviews his understanding of the world, and examines the relationship between the two. He includes an extensive glossary with the English meaning and the Chinese characters. Annotation copyrighted by Book News Inc., Portland, OR.
One of the hardest questions to answer for a (Neo)platonist is to what extent and how the changing and unreliable world of sense perception can itself be an object of scientific knowledge. My dissertation is a study of the answer given to that question by the Neoplatonist Proclus (Athens, 411-485) in his Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus. I present a new explanation of Proclus’ concept of nature and show that philosophy of nature consists of several related subdisciplines matching the ontological (...) stratification of nature. Moreover, I demonstrate that for Proclus philosophy of nature is a science, albeit a hypothetical one, which takes geometry as its methodological paradigm. I also offer an explanation of Proclus’ view of what is later called the mathematization of physics, i.e. the role of the substance of mathematics, as opposed to its method, in explaining the natural world. Finally, I discuss Proclus’ views of the discourse of philosophy of nature and its iconic character. (shrink)
Plato's dialogue the Timaeus-Critias presents two connected accounts, that of the story of Atlantis and its defeat by ancient Athens and that of the creation of the cosmos by a divine craftsman. This book offers a unified reading of the dialogue. It tackles a wide range of interpretative and philosophical issues. Topics discussed include the function of the famous Atlantis story, the notion of cosmology as 'myth' and as 'likely', and the role of God in Platonic cosmology. Other areas commented (...) upon are Plato's concepts of 'necessity' and 'teleology', the nature of the 'receptacle', the relationship between the soul and the body, the use of perception in cosmology, and the work's peculiar monologue form. The unifying theme is teleology: Plato's attempt to show the cosmos to be organised for the good. A central lesson which emerges is that the Timaeus is closer to Aristotle's physics than previously thought. (shrink)
Descartes was both metaphysician and natural philosopher. He used his metaphysics to ground portions of his physics. However, as should be a commonplace but is not, he did not think he could spin all of his physics out of his metaphysics a priori, and in fact he both emphasized the need for appeals to experience in his methodological remarks on philosophizing about nature and constantly appealed to experience in describing his own philosophy of nature. During the 1630s, he (...) offered empirical support for the basic principles of his naturalphilosophy, while also promising to provide a metaphysical justification. He offered the metaphysical justification in the Meditations and Principles. and claimed absolute certainty for it. At the same time, he recognized that the particular postulated mechanisms of his naturalphilosophy did not reach that standard of certainty. These mechanisms were supported by empirical testing or confirming of causes through observed effects. (shrink)
In the Italian universities, there was traditionally a strong alliance between naturalphilosophy and medicine, which however was all to the advantage of the latter; its teachers were better regarded and better paid than others in the faculty of Arts and Medicine, and this led to career paths that sought out the teaching of medicine as soon as possible. This article examines a reversal of this trend observable in sixteenth-century Bologna and some other Italian universities , leading to (...) careers concentrating on naturalphilosophy and on the interpretation of Aristotelian works. It appears that financial incentives were part of the context leading to specialization in philosophy. An appendix listing the careers of nearly 200 teachers of naturalphilosophy in Bologna between 1340 and 1600 illustrates the developments. (shrink)
It is difficult now to imagine an intellectual landscape so thoroughly dominated by one figure as was that of the Schools by Aristotle. Except on certain well-known questions, the presumption was that Aristotle, suitably interpreted, was right. Nevertheless Aristotelianism was no frozen monolith. During the four centuries of its predominance, it continued to change, and admitted on all but fundamental points or those on which ecclesiastical authorities had pronounced, a great latitude—within, as in all such frameworks, the limits of its (...) thinkable. (shrink)
The graduation theses of the Scottish universities in the first half of the seventeenth century are at the crossroads of philosophical and historical events of fundamental importance: Renaissance and Humanist philosophy, Scholastic and modern philosophy, Reformation and Counterreformation, the rise of modern science. The struggle among these tendencies shaped the culture of the seventeenth century. Graduation theses are a product of the Scholasticism of the modern age, which survived the Reformation in Scotland and decisively influenced Scottish philosophy (...) in the seventeenth century, including the reception of early modern philosophy. We can therefore speak of a ‘Scottish Scholasticism’, characterised by an original reception and interpretation of the long traditions of Scholastic philosophy and Aristotelianism. The aim of the thesis is the analysis of the general physics of the graduation theses: the two central theories are prime matter and movement. Naturalphilosophy is a particularly interesting case, and the main features of the graduation theses are the reception of Scholasticism alongside innovation within Scholasticism. Graduation theses adhere to the Scholastic tradition, especially Scotism, while being innovative in their opposition to Catholic forms of Scholasticism. Scottish Scholasticism can be then further qualified as an example of ‘Reformed Scholasticism’. (shrink)
I uncover here a conflict in Kant’s naturalphilosophy. His matter theory and laws of mechanics are in tension. Kant’s laws are fit for particles but are too narrow to handle continuous bodies, which his doctrine of matter demands. To fix this defect, Kant ultimately must ground the Torque Law; that is, the impressed torque equals the change in angular momentum. But that grounding requires a premise—the symmetry of the stress tensor—that Kant denies himself. I argue that his (...) problem would not arise if he had kept his early theory of matter as made of mass points, or “physical monads.”. (shrink)
Building on developments in feminist science scholarship and the philosophy of science, I advocate two methodological principles as elements of a naturalized philosophy of science. One principle incorporates a holistic account of evidence inclusive of claims and theories informed by and/or expressive of politics and non-constitutive values; the second takes communities, rather than individual scientists, to be the primary loci of scientific knowledge. I use case studies to demonstrate that these methodological principles satisfy three criteria for naturalization accepted (...) in naturalized philosophy of science, and allow for the differential assessment of episodes in which values and sociopolitical factors inform, or contribute to the adoption of, theories for which there is sufficient evidential warrant — and episodes in which such factors inform, or contribute to the adoption of, theories for which there is not. I contend that in terms of their empirical and normative import, these principles constitute a further naturalization of the philosophy of science. (shrink)