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Causation and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Philosophy$
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Walter Ott

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570430

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570430.001.0001

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The Rejection of Aristotelianism

The Rejection of Aristotelianism

(p.39) 5 The Rejection of Aristotelianism
Causation and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Philosophy

Walter Ott (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Descartes rejects scholastic powers because they have four related but to his mind equally repugnant features: they are not reducible to the mechanical properties of bodies; they are explanatorily impotent; they exhibit physical teleology; and, most importantly, they are characterized by physical intentionality. That is, a scholastic power is intrinsically directed toward its characteristic effect. In the context of ontological mechanism, this simply makes no sense. Descartes mocks the scholastics for having imbued bodies with “little souls” that direct their behavior.

Keywords:   little souls argument, physical intentionality, teleology, Descartes

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