University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Friday, September 19th 2014
Speaker: Karen Detlefsen, Department of Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania
Subject: Generation, Individuation, and Teleology: Malebranche's and Leibniz's Divergent Theories of Pre-formation
Refreshments served in Room 275 Nicholson Hall at 3:15 p.m.

When some early modern natural philosophers rejected Scholastic substantial forms in favor of a parsimonious, and often explanatorily powerful, mechanistic philosophy, one natural phenomenon they had particular difficulty accommodating was the generation of new living beings. In this talk, I look at how Malebranche and Leibniz deal with this difficulty, and the different ways they draw upon teleology to help them provide theories of generation that can preserve the new mechanism. In the process, I underscore the complexity of theories of teleology in the 17th century.

Sponsored by Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science.

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