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Descartes and the Ontology of Everyday Life

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2020.06.05 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Deborah J. Brown and Calvin G. Normore, Descartes and the Ontology of Everyday Life, Oxford University Press, 2019, 255pp., $70.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198836810. Reviewed by John Carriero, University of California, Los Angeles The title of Deborah J. Brown and Calvin G. Normore's groundbreaking new book well describes their project. To understand what's at issue, let me start by describing the physical world according to Descartes. We begin with a fluid-like matter called extension. Extension is, of itself, homogenous. In order for diversity to appear, motion is required. With the introduction of motion, through the constant friction in the plenum, three types of matter appear: a first kind of "indeterminately small size," a second kind of "larger globules," and a third kind of "larger chunks" (p. 48). Through the arrangement and movement of these different types of matter arise the things in the world of everyday experience, including plants, animals, artifacts, planets, and stars.

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

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