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.
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.
This book contextualizes David Hume's philosophy of physical science, exploring both Hume's background in the history of early modern naturalphilosophy and its subsequent impact on the scientific tradition.
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].
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.
From the Philosophies journal program, one of the main aims of the journal is to help establish a new unity in diversity in human knowledge, which would include both “Wissen” (i.e., “Wissenschaft”) and “sc¯ıre” (i.e., “science”). As is known, “Wissenshaft” (the pursuit of knowledge, learning, and scholarship) is a broader concept of knowledge than “science”, as it involves all kinds of knowledge,including philosophy, and not exclusively knowledge in the form of directly testable explanations and predictions. The broader notion of (...) scholarship incorporates an understanding and articulation of the role of the learner and the process of the growth of knowledge and its development, rather than only the final product and its verification and validation. In other words, it is a form of knowledge that is inclusive of both short-term and long-term perspectives; it is local and global, critical and hypothetical (speculative), breaking new ground. This new synthesis or rather re-connection of knowledge is expected to resonate with basic human value systems, including cultural values. Since knowledge tends to spontaneously fragment while it grows, we take existing diversity as a resource and a starting point for a new synthesis. The idea of broad, inclusive knowledge is in fact not so new. From the beginning, naturalphilosophy included all contemporary knowledge about nature. Newton was a natural philosopher, as were Bohr, Einstein, Prigogine, Weizsäcker, and Wheeler—to name but a few. Today, the unifying picture of the natural/physical world is sorely missing among the isolated silos of particular scientific domains, each with its own specific ontologies, methodologies, and epistemologies. From the profound need for connected and common knowledge, new trends towards synthesis have emerged in the last decades. One major theme is complexity, especially when applied to biology or medicine, which helps us to grasp the importance of connectedness between present-day disparate pieces of knowledge—frameworks, theories, approaches, etc. Related to this is the emergence of network science, which studies structures of nodes (actors) and edges as connections between them. This book is connecting work on contemporary naturalphilosophy and its connections with existing philosophies, sciences and other knowledge fields. (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)
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)
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)
This book is a systematic reappraisal of Leibniz’s philosophy of mind. The main argument of this book is easy to state: Leibniz offers a fully natural theory of mind. In today’s philosophical climate, in which much effort has been put into discovering a naturalized theory of mind, Leibniz’s efforts to reach a similar goal 300 years earlier will provide a critical stance from which we can assess our own theories. But while the goals might be similar, the content (...) of Leibniz’s theory significantly diverges from the majority of today’s theories. Leibniz’s philosophy of mind meets the standards of what he would regard as a fully natural theory. Perhaps surprisingly, Leibniz’s theological commitments yield a thoroughgoing naturalizing methodology: the properties of an object are explicable in term of the object’s nature. This book argues that Leibniz pursued his philosophy of mind with this methodology in hand. If we keep this commitment to a naturalizing project in mind, then we will find in Leibniz a rich and interesting philosophy of mind. -/- This book provides an account of Leibniz’s naturalizing constraints and traces them through Leibniz’s philosophy of mind. It covers issues relating to mental representation, perception, sensation, consciousness, memory, and moral identity. (shrink)
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)
This essay discusses the role of new mechanical devices put forward in the seventeenth century in anatomy and pathology, showing how several of those devices were promptly deployed in anatomical investigations. I also discuss the role of dead bodies as boundary objects between living bodies and machines, highlighting their problematic status in experimentation and vivisection.
Originally published in 1830, this book can be called the first modern work in the philosophy of science, covering an extraordinary range of philosophical, methodological, and scientific subjects. "Herschel's book . . . brilliantly analyzes both the history and nature of science."—Keith Stewart Thomson, American Scientist.
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)
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)
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)
This edition aims to make Margaret Cavendish’s most mature philosophical work more accessible to students and scholars of the period. _Grounds of Natural Philosophy_ is important not only because it is Cavendish’s final articulation of her metaphysics but also because it succinctly outlines her fundamental views on “the nature of nature”—or the base substance and mechanics of all natural matter—and vividly demonstrates her probabilistic approach to philosophical enquiry. Moreover, _Grounds_ spends considerable time discussing the human body, including the (...) functions of the mind, a topic of growing interest to both historians of philosophy and literary scholars. This Broadview Edition opens to modern readers a vibrant, unique, and provocative voice of the past that challenges our standard view of seventeenth-century English philosophy. (shrink)
With a never-before published paper by Lord Henry Cavendish, as well as a biography on him, this book offers a fascinating discourse on the rise of scientific attitudes and ways of knowing. A pioneering British physicist in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Cavendish was widely considered to be the first full-time scientist in the modern sense. Through the lens of this unique thinker and writer, this book is about the birth of modern science.
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)
This paper examines Hobbes’s criticisms of Robert Boyle’s air-pump experiments in light of Hobbes’s account in _De Corpore_ and _De Homine_ of the relationship of naturalphilosophy to geometry. I argue that Hobbes’s criticisms rely upon his understanding of what counts as “true physics.” Instead of seeing Hobbes as defending naturalphilosophy as “a causal enterprise … [that] as such, secured total and irrevocable assent,” 1 I argue that, in his disagreement with Boyle, Hobbes relied upon (...) his understanding of naturalphilosophy as a mixed mathematical science. In a mixed mathematical science one can mix facts from experience with causal principles borrowed from geometry. Hobbes’s harsh criticisms of Boyle’s philosophy, especially in the _Dialogus Physicus, sive De natura aeris_, should thus be understood as Hobbes advancing his view of the proper relationship of naturalphilosophy to geometry in terms of mixing principles from geometry with facts from experience. Understood in this light, Hobbes need not be taken to reject or diminish the importance of experiment/experience; nor should Hobbes’s criticisms in _Dialogus Physicus_ be understood as rejecting experimenting as ignoble and not befitting a philosopher. Instead, Hobbes’s viewpoint is that experiment/experience must be understood within its proper place – it establishes the ‘that’ for a mixed mathematical science explanation. (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)
Throughout his career David Hull has sought to bring the philosophy of science into closer contact with science and especially with biological science (Hull 1969, 1997b). This effort has taken many forms. Sometimes it has meant ‘either explaining basic biology to philosophers or explaining basic philosophy to biologists’ (Hull 1996, p. 77). The ﬁrst of these tasks, simple as it sounds, has been responsible for revolutionary changes. It is well known that traditional philosophy of science, modeled as (...) it was on theoretical physics, proved inadequate when philosophers turned their attention to biological science. Biological examples have driven major revisions of accounts of reduction (Hull 1974; Schaffner 1993, Ch. 9), laws of nature (Beatty et al. 1997), theories (Lloyd 1988) and natural kinds (Wilson 1999, Part III). Nor is explaining basic philosophy to biologists a task to be looked down upon. It is useful, not because philosophy has all the answers, but because scientists must think about how to do science, that is doing philosophy of science and scientists frequently reinvent philosophical views with known ﬂaws. Early in his career Hull found biological systematists in the grip of a crude operationalism about scientiﬁc concepts and said so in the pages of Systematic Zoology (Hull 1968). For the next thirty years, as biologists debated the nature of species and the correct principles of classiﬁcation, Hull added a philosophical note at the same congresses and in the same journals (Hull 1970, 1976, 1980, 1997a, 1999). (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)
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)
A consideration of Mach's elements, his philosophy of neutral monism, and philosophy of physics, especially space and time, much of it based on unpublished writings from the Nachlass and other original sources. The historical connection between Mach and logical positivism is shown to be superficial at best, and Mach's elements are shown to be mind independent natural qualities (world-elements) with dynamic force, not limited to human sensations.
This book explores the dynamics of the commentary and textbook traditions in Aristotelian naturalphilosophy under the headings of doctrine, method, and scientific and social status. It enquires what the evolution of the Aristotelian commentary tradition can tell us about the character of naturalphilosophy as a pedagogical tool, as a scientific enterprise, and as a background to modern scientific thought. In a unique attempt to cut old-fashioned historiographic divisions, it brings together scholars of ancient, medieval, (...) Renaissance and seventeenth-century philosophy. The book covers a remarkably broad range of topics: it starts with the first Greek commentators and ends with Leibniz. (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)
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)