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Divided Hopes: Physics Versus Metaphysics

  • Lucas John Mix
Chapter

Abstract

The mechanical philosophy created serious problems for accounts of life, often viewed as somewhere between mind and matter. Bacon, Leibniz, and Kant all tried to clarify the mechanical position. They bridged or denied the Cartesian ontological divide, but erected epistemological barriers with very similar results. Bacon distinguished physics from metaphysics. Leibniz invoked physical nature and gracious monads. Kant suggested phenomenal and noumenal worlds. Multiple possibilities were explored in the search for a new conceptual foundation for biology. Idealists, influenced by Leibniz, Malebranche, and Hume critiqued empiricism, while iatromechanists began to find solely mechanical explanations of life. Together, they lay the foundations for a divided epistemology of natural science and the humanities.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucas John Mix
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Organismic and Evolutionary BiologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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