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Obscurity and confusion: nonreductionism in Descartes's
 biology and philosophy

Barnaby Hutchins UGent (2016)
abstract
Descartes is usually taken to be a strict reductionist, and he frequently describes his work in reductionist terms. This dissertation, however, makes the case that he is a nonreductionist in certain areas of his philosophy and natural philosophy (biology and the mind–body union in particular). This might seem like simple inconsistency, or a mismatch between Descartes's ambitions and his achievements. I argue that here it is more than that: nonreductionism is compatible with his wider commitments, and allowing for irreducibles increases the explanatory power of his system. Moreover, Descartes depends on nonreductionist knowledge and on irreducibles in order to maintain his epistemology and metaphysics. That is, there is more in the Cartesian world than mind, matter, and God.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
promoter
organization
year
type
dissertation
publication status
published
subject
keyword
reductionism, subjective standpoint metaphysics, Descartes, nonreductionism, history of philosophy, mechanisms, history and philosophy of biology
pages
191 pages
publisher
Ghent University. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
place of publication
Ghent, Belgium
defense location
Gent : Instituut der Wetenschappen (Jozef Plateaustraat 22, Jozef Plateauzaal)
defense date
2016-05-27 16:00
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
D1
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
7225678
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-7225678
date created
2016-05-25 10:09:19
date last changed
2017-01-16 10:51:09
@phdthesis{7225678,
  abstract     = {Descartes is usually taken to be a strict reductionist, and he frequently describes his work in reductionist terms. This dissertation, however, makes the case that he is a nonreductionist in certain areas of his philosophy and natural philosophy (biology and the mind--body union in particular). This might seem like simple inconsistency, or a mismatch between Descartes's ambitions and his achievements. I argue that here it is more than that: nonreductionism is compatible with his wider commitments, and allowing for irreducibles increases the explanatory power of his system. Moreover, Descartes depends on nonreductionist knowledge and on irreducibles in order to maintain his epistemology and metaphysics. That is, there is more in the Cartesian world than mind, matter, and God.},
  author       = {Hutchins, Barnaby},
  keyword      = {reductionism,subjective standpoint metaphysics,Descartes,nonreductionism,history of philosophy,mechanisms,history and philosophy of biology},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {191},
  publisher    = {Ghent University. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy},
  school       = {Ghent University},
  title        = {Obscurity and confusion: nonreductionism in Descartes's\unmatched{2028} biology and philosophy},
  year         = {2016},
}

Chicago
Hutchins, Barnaby. 2016. “Obscurity and Confusion: Nonreductionism in Descartes’s
 Biology and Philosophy”. Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy.
APA
Hutchins, Barnaby. (2016). Obscurity and confusion: nonreductionism in Descartes’s
 biology and philosophy. Ghent University. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Ghent, Belgium.
Vancouver
1.
Hutchins B. Obscurity and confusion: nonreductionism in Descartes’s
 biology and philosophy. [Ghent, Belgium]: Ghent University. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy; 2016.
MLA
Hutchins, Barnaby. “Obscurity and Confusion: Nonreductionism in Descartes’s
 Biology and Philosophy.” 2016 : n. pag. Print.