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Marleen Rozemond  (University of Toronto)

“Mind and Mechanism in Cudworth and Leibniz”

Abstract: When we think of arguments against materialism in the early modern period, we tend to think of Descartes’s well-known argument for dualism. In this paper I look at two very different lines of argument that were common in the period. One of these concerns what we would now call the unity of consciousness. The other one contends that Descartes was far too optimistic about the scope of mechanistic explanation and that all natural phenomena ultimately require appeal to immaterial entities. Consequently Descartes was wrong about where to draw the line between the material and the immaterial. These arguments assume that matter is inherently composite and passive. This idea can be found in Leibniz but also, and in an interestingly different form, in Ralph Cudworth.

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Date(s) - January 29, 2016
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

McMaster University, Kenneth Taylor Hall 109


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