Holism in cartesianism and in today's philosophy of physics

Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 30 (1):17-36 (1999)
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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.



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Michael Esfeld
University of Lausanne

References found in this work

A Study of Spinoza's Ethics.Jonathan Bennett - 1984 - Cambridge University Press.
Relational Holism and Quantum Mechanics1.Paul Teller - 1986 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 37 (1):71-81.
How is Quantum Field Theory Possible?Sunny Y. Auyang - 1995 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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