Class Notes (835,600)
Canada (509,275)
Philosophy (737)
PHIL 3210 (4)

Margaret Cavendish PHIL3210.docx

7 Pages
Unlock Document

PHIL 3210
Patricia Sheridan

Margaret Cavendish – Descartes’s Physics and his theory of Perception Descrates Mechaism Sept 17 th Descartes’s prescription for happiness  A life ruled by reason o The control of the passions by the mind o The body can affect the mind but this is something we must act to avoid  Enlightenment ideal of mastery over nature o Recall: women equated with the corporeal, the physical “mother nature”  The thinking self can disengage from the physical self, can reflect purely abstractly o Its connected to the body but still distinct in a defining way o Self defined by distinctness from physical body Abstract thought vs Imagination  “being able to imagine… the mind or one perceived by the senses” Meditation VI, 28  I am the one who thinks by body is the one that imagines Soul: Dispassionate Observer  The soul when elevated contemplates body without being personally affected by it  Soul can be a dispassionate observer, the objective subject  “just as sad pitiful stories…. Things that befall them.” (May 18, 1645) Elizabeth’s Personal Experience  Political and personal issues  Plagued by health problems; suffered from constant physical complaints  For Descartes, dualism is something known by reason alone, not by experience in a physical body  Interesting: prescription again to rise above or out of the body for philosophical success  “Although… I don’t……of its own conscience.” Reasoning and the body Elizabeth, 1645  Can the soul be a detached observer?  Can dualism be correct?  “some diseases completely remove the power of reasoning…. Require quick decisions.” (June 1645) Elizabeth’s Demand  Single defining feature approach in adequate o Eg soul = thinking things Descartes telling response  There are two things we can know about the soul: o It thinks o It interacts with the body and suffers with it (13)  “I have said nearly nothing…. While the other would have been an impediment.” (13) A Contradiction of Selves  This creates a tension, as Elizabeth points out  A soul that is understood as completely separate  A soul with no illness, passions, distractions o Yet lived experience has all those things all the time  “Sometimes the interests…. Useless for anything else (16) Soul Ruled by the Body  It is very difficult to …. Yet is so ruled by it (17) Primitive Notion  “I consider that there are in us certain primitive notiions that are like originals on whose model (slide) Elizabeth: Maybe the soul is extended?  The sense may confirm this but they do not explain the phenomenon  “I too find that… manner in which she does it.”  We need to explain it, perhaps, with more accurate definitions  “I admit it would be… immaterial being” (16) Elizabeth’s Alternative Definition  “I think there are…. Inextention (21)”  “Although extension is not… less essential to her (21)”  Intuitive and non-philosophical  “your highness still has…. That happen to it.” (19) Descartes final answer: The pineal gland  “nevertheless there is a certain.. the movements of the gland”  non symmetrical part of the brain and beginning of the spinal colum Cavendish: a vitalistic response to Descartes – Sept 19 Margaret Cavendish Paper topics General introduction to Cavendish Cavendish vs. Descartes  Motion of bodies  Organicism vs. Mechanism Cavendish on Women’s Lot “We are shut out of all power… and through a despisement of us” (1655) very connected woman, her husband was rich and supportive so she was able to get to know many Mechanical view of the Universe Dualism  Mind or spirit – human reason as archetype  Matter – everything else Figure out physical laws can figure out how the world works Atomism  Everything in the world is made up of small tiny parts  All big thing actually function at a micro level World as machine  God is the divine watch maker Atomism --- Corpuscularianism Atomic theory of Nature  Everything made up of tiny particles  Things differ based of these particles and how they move relative to each other o Chair vs. Human, Simple vs. Complex Matter in motion  Things can only interact by contact  Things don’t move on there own, not even atoms, matter is DEAD Things don’t affect each other at a distance, no attraction or repulsion World a machine  All things are more or less complex arrangements of material parts Problems Mind-body interaction Action at a distance  Motion without impact World as dead matter, human exceptionalism  Only ones with souls and rational abilities Legacy? Dualistic picture evident in contemporary views of nature Reductionist physical/chemical accounts of nature  Life and consciousness a distinct phenomenon from the objects of physics and chemistry  Materialist science cannot explain consciousness and mind Panpsychism All material things have sense and reason  Self motion Physical things have something like knowledge or reason  They know how to interpret and react to other objects Organicism Everything in nature has an organic basis or explanation; everything in nature is part of an organic whole Cavendish was a materialist, denying that anything in nature has an immaterial soul (except humans) Insists on a rational soul, that is in some sense material, that inhabits all of the natural world (distinguishing the human soul) Cavendish’s Ontology Cavendish is a materialist World consists of two kinds of matter  Active sensitive (spiritual) matter o Rational, animate  Inactive gross matter  Everything in universe on a continuum of more or less gross material things Cavendish’s Science: September 24 th  Motion and animation  The failures of modern science  Mechanism as bias  The pansychic theory of motion
More Less

Related notes for PHIL 3210

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.