Advanced search
2 files | 289.81 KB

Descartes and the dissolution of life

(2016) SOUTHERN JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY. 54(2). p.155-173
Author
Organization
Abstract
I argue that Descartes is not a reductionist about life, but dissolves or eliminates the category entirely. This is surprising both because he repeatedly refers to the life of humans, animals, and plants and because he appears to rely on the category of life to construct his physiology and medicine. Various attempts have been made in the scholarship to attribute a principled concept of life to Descartes. Most recently, Detlefsen (2016) has argued that Descartes “is a *reductionist* with respect to explanation of life phenomena but not an eliminativist with respect to life itself” (143). I show that all these attempts either result in arbitrariness or force Descartes’s wider philosophical project into incoherence. I argue that Descartes’s ontological commitments make a principled concept of life impossible, that he does not need such a concept, and that his project ends up more coherent without one.
Keywords
Descartes, reductionism, eliminativism, life, concept

Downloads

  • Descartes and the dissolution of life.FINAL.pdf
    • full text
    • |
    • open access
    • |
    • PDF
    • |
    • 176.05 KB
    • full text
    • |
    • UGent only
    • |
    • PDF
    • |
    • 113.76 KB

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Hutchins, Barnaby. 2016. “Descartes and the Dissolution of Life.” Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (2): 155–173.
APA
Hutchins, Barnaby. (2016). Descartes and the dissolution of life. SOUTHERN JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY, 54(2), 155–173.
Vancouver
1.
Hutchins B. Descartes and the dissolution of life. SOUTHERN JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY. 2016;54(2):155–73.
MLA
Hutchins, Barnaby. “Descartes and the Dissolution of Life.” SOUTHERN JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY 54.2 (2016): 155–173. Print.
@article{8547645,
  abstract     = {I argue that Descartes is not a reductionist about life, but dissolves or eliminates the category entirely. This is surprising both because he repeatedly refers to the life of humans, animals, and plants and because he appears to rely on the category of life to construct his physiology and medicine. Various attempts have been made in the scholarship to attribute a principled concept of life to Descartes. Most recently, Detlefsen (2016) has argued that Descartes {\textquotedblleft}is a *reductionist* with respect to explanation of life phenomena but not an eliminativist with respect to life itself{\textquotedblright} (143). I show that all these attempts either result in arbitrariness or force Descartes{\textquoteright}s wider philosophical project into incoherence. I argue that Descartes{\textquoteright}s ontological commitments make a principled concept of life impossible, that he does not need such a concept, and that his project ends up more coherent without one.},
  author       = {Hutchins, Barnaby},
  isbn         = {2041-6962},
  journal      = {SOUTHERN JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY},
  keyword      = {Descartes,reductionism,eliminativism,life,concept},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {155--173},
  title        = {Descartes and the dissolution of life},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/sjp.12172},
  volume       = {54},
  year         = {2016},
}

Altmetric
View in Altmetric
Web of Science
Times cited: