Descartes and the Ontology of Everyday Life

Descartes and the Ontology of Everyday Life

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The seventeenth century was a period of extraordinary invention, discovery and revolutions in scientific, social and political orders. It was a time of expansive automation, biological discovery, rapid advances in medical knowledge, of animal trials and a questioning of the boundaries between species, human and non-human, between social classes, and of the assumed naturalness of political inequality. This book gives a tour through those objects, ordinary and
extraordinary, which captivated the philosophical imagination of the single most important French philosopher of this period, Rene Descartes. Deborah J. Brown and Calvin G. Normore document Descartes' attempt to make sense of the complex, composite objects of human and divine invention, consistent with the
fundamental tenets of his metaphysical system. Their central argument is that, far from reducing all the categories of ordinary experience to the two basic categories of substance, mind and body, Descartes' philosophy recognises irreducible composites that resist reduction, and require their own distinctive modes of explanation.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 266 pages
  • 141 x 217 x 20mm | 444g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0198836813
  • 9780198836810
  • 2,002,064

Table of contents

1: The World as Descartes Found It
2: Bodies
3: Automata
4: Systems and Functions
5: Lifeblood
6: The State of the Union
7: Larger than Life
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Review quote

An outstanding contribution. * Fabrizio Baldassarri, Journal of the History of Philosophy *
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About Deborah J. Brown

Deborah J. Brown is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Queensland. She is the author of Descartes and the Passionate Mind (Cambridge 2006) and numerous articles on the philosophy of Descartes.

Calvin G. Normore is the Brian P. Copenhaver Professor of Philosophy at UCLA. He assisted in producing the Past Masters electronic edition of Rene Descartes' collected works (Oeuvres Completes de Rene Descartes) and is a specialist in medieval philosophy with a particular interest in its aftermath.
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