Barnaby Hutchins


Ghent University

Reductionism and integrationism in Descartes’s biology

This paper argues that Descartes’s theoretical claims about mechanism should be distinguished from his use of mechanism in biology: in his theoretical claims, Descartes is a strong reductionist, but in his biology, he is closer to what Darden and Craver (2009) have termed ‘integrationism’. As such, we find a philosophy of science in Descartes’s biology that is in contrast to his better-known explicit claims.