© 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
Vivarium – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2008
Keywords: MIND-BODY DUALISM; DESCARTES
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