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Descartes and the Ontology of Everyday Life - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Descartes and the Ontology of Everyday Life

Deborah J. Brown and Calvin G. Normore


Far from being the founder of an austere reductionism, Descartes is committed to a rich, multilayered, and complex metaphysics. This book begins by locating Descartes’s work against the ancient and medieval background to which he is reacting. It proceeds to argue that his theory of distinctions requires what he explicitly endorses―that in addition to minds and modes, there are material substances of every size. These substances when appropriately configured form automata, self-sustaining, functionally integrated systems of which animals and human bodies are important sub-classes. Descartes’ co ... More

Keywords: Descartes, Substance, Distinctions, Mereology, Automata, function, System, Human beingSociety, Passions

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9780198836810
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2019 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198836810.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Deborah J. Brown, author
University of Queensland

Calvin G. Normore, author
University of California, Los Angeles

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