The Divine Order, the Human Order, and the Order of Nature Historical Perspectives

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-09-18
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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This volume contains ten new essays focused on the exploration and articulation of a narrative that considers the notion of order within medieval and modern philosophy--its various kinds (natural, moral, divine, and human), the different ways in which each is conceived, and the diverse dependency relations that are thought to obtain among them.

Descartes, with the help of others, brought about an important shift in what was understood by the order of nature by placing laws of nature at the foundation of his natural philosophy. Vigorous debate then ensued about the proper formulation of the laws of nature and the moral law, about whether such laws can be justified, and if so, how-through some aspect of the divine order or through human beings-and about what consequences these laws have for human beings and the moral and divine orders. That is, philosophers of the period were thinking through what the order of nature consists in and how to understand its relations to the divine, human, and moral orders. No two major philosophers in the modern period took exactly the same stance on these issues, but these issues are clearly central to their thought. The Divine Order, the Human Order, and the Order of Nature is devoted to investigating their positions from a vantage point that has the potential to combine metaphysical, epistemological, scientific, and moral considerations into a single narrative.

Author Biography

Eric Watkins is a leading historian of philosophy who focuses on the history of modern philosophy, specializing in Kant. He is currently Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego. In addition to many articles in international journals he has published several books, including Kant and the Sciences (OUP 2001), Kant and the Metaphysics of Causality (2005), Kant's Critique of Pure Reason: Background Source Materials (2009), and Immanuel Kant: Natural Science (2012). He has received fellowships or grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, and the Templeton Foundation.

Table of Contents

Note on Texts, Translations, and Abbreviations

Part I: The Medieval Period
1: Powers versus Laws: God and the Order of the World According to Some Late Medieval Aristotelians
Marilyn McCord Adams
2: The Order of Nature and Moral Luck: Maimonides on Divine Providence
Steven Nadler

Part II: The Early Modern Period
3: God, Laws, and the Order of Nature: Descartes and Leibniz, Hobbes and Spinoza
Daniel Garber
4: Malebranche's Causal Concepts
Robert Merrihew Adams
5: Laws and Order: Malebranche, Berkeley, Hume
Tad Schmaltz
6: Laws of Nature in Seventeenth-Century England: From Cambridge Platonism to Newtonianism
Peter Harrison
7: Laws and Powers in Leibniz
Donald Rutherford
8: Change in the Monad
Martha Brandt Bolton

Part III: Kant
9: Rational Hope, Moral Order, and the Revolution of the Will
Andrew Chignell
10: Kant on the Natural, Moral, Human, and Divine Orders
Eric Watkins


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