The Problem of Animal Generation in Early Modern Philosophy

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-09-13
  • Publisher: Cambridge Univ Pr
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In this 2006 volume Smith examines the early modern science of generation, which included the study of animal conception, heredity, and fetal development. Analyzing how it influenced the contemporary treatment of traditional philosophical questions, it also demonstrates how philosophical pre-suppositions about mechanism, substance, and cause informed the interpretations offered by those conducting empirical research on animal reproduction. Composed of essays written by an international team of leading scholars, the book offers a fresh perspective on some of the basic problems in early modern philosophy. It also considers how these basic problems manifested themselves within an area of scientific inquiry that has not previously received much consideration by historians of philosophy.

Table of Contents

The Dawning of a New Era
The comparative study of animal development: from Aristotle to William Harvey
Monsters, nature, and generation from the Renaissance to the Early Modern period: the emergence of medical thought Annie Bitbol-Hesperies
The Cartesian Programme
Descartes' experiments and the generation of animals
Imagination and the problem of heredity in Cartesian embryology
The Gassdendian Alternative
The soul as vehicle for genetic information: Pierre Gassendi's account of inheritance
Atoms and minds in Walter Charleton's theory of animal generation
Second-Wave Mechanism and the Return of Animal Souls, 1650-1700: 7 Animal generation and substance in Sennert and Leibniz
Malebranche on animal generation: pre-existence and the microscope
Spontaneous and sexual generation in Ann Conway's Principles Deborah Boyle
'Animal' as category: Pierre Bayle's 'Rorarius'
Between Epigenesis and Pre-Existence: The Debate Intensifies, 1700-70
Method and cause: the Cartesian context of the Haller-Wolff debate
Soul power: G. E. Stahl and the debate on animal generation
Charles Bonnet's neo-Leibnizian theory of organic bodies
Kant and His Contemporaries on Development and the Problem of Organized Matter
Kant's early views on epigenesis: the role of Maupertuis
Blumenbach and Kant on the formative drive: mechanism and teleology in nature
Kant and the speculative sciences of origins
Kant and evolution
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