Cartesian Scientia and the Human Soul

Cartesian Scientia and the Human Soul © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008 DOI: 10.1163/156853408X360984 Cartesian Scientia and the Human Soul Lilli Alanen University of Uppsala Abstract Descartes’s conception of matter changed the account of physical nature in terms of extension and related quantitative terms. Plants and animals were turned into species of machines, whose natural functions can be explained mechanistically. Th is article refl ects on the consequences of this transformation for the psychology of human soul. In so far the soul is rational it lacks extension, yet it is also united with the body and aff ected by it, and so it is able to act on extended matter. Th e article examines Des- cartes’s concept of scientia and his diff erent uses of nature, and argues that there is much more continuity between Aristotelian and Cartesian psychology than is usually recognized when it comes to an explanation of the functions of the embodied human soul. If this makes psychology unfi t for inclusion in the new science of nature, its object is still a natural phenomenon and has an important place within scientia as Descartes conceived of it. Keywords mind-body dualism, Descartes 1. Introduction While it is uncontroversial that Descartes’s mind-body dualism http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Vivarium Brill

Cartesian Scientia and the Human Soul

Vivarium , Volume 46 (3): 418 – Jan 1, 2008

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2008 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0042-7543
eISSN
1568-5349
D.O.I.
10.1163/156853408X360984
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008 DOI: 10.1163/156853408X360984 Cartesian Scientia and the Human Soul Lilli Alanen University of Uppsala Abstract Descartes’s conception of matter changed the account of physical nature in terms of extension and related quantitative terms. Plants and animals were turned into species of machines, whose natural functions can be explained mechanistically. Th is article refl ects on the consequences of this transformation for the psychology of human soul. In so far the soul is rational it lacks extension, yet it is also united with the body and aff ected by it, and so it is able to act on extended matter. Th e article examines Des- cartes’s concept of scientia and his diff erent uses of nature, and argues that there is much more continuity between Aristotelian and Cartesian psychology than is usually recognized when it comes to an explanation of the functions of the embodied human soul. If this makes psychology unfi t for inclusion in the new science of nature, its object is still a natural phenomenon and has an important place within scientia as Descartes conceived of it. Keywords mind-body dualism, Descartes 1. Introduction While it is uncontroversial that Descartes’s mind-body dualism

Journal

VivariumBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2008

Keywords: MIND-BODY DUALISM; DESCARTES

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