René Descartes’ Parricide: The Challenge of Cartesian Philosophy of Nature and Philosophy of Mind to Aristotle’s Authorship
Abstract. It is commonly held that René Descartes‟ mind-body dualism introduced a new outlook on human beings and their place in nature. In what follows, I will argue that it is rather his monistic view of the corporeal substance that paved the way to the modern and contemporary dilemmas on the relation between human minds and physical bodies. Against the Aristotelian view of the living body as an ensouled or enformed matter, Descartes states that the living body is nothing but a local modification of a single indefinitely extended thing, as any other body in the physical world. In challenging the auctoritas of “the Philosopher” of the Schools, Descartes however shows a certain bond with the Aristotelian philosophy in which he grew up; but it is exactly for this “filial bond” that he has been able to change, from within, the scholastic worldview.
Keywords: Descartes, Aristotle, mind, soul, body, psychology, physics, philosophy of mind