Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Divine MachinesLeibniz and the Sciences of Life$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Justin E. H. Smith

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691141787

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691141787.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022



(p.1) Introduction
Divine Machines

Justin E. H. Smith

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter begins with a discussion of the place of biology in early modern natural philosophy. “Biology,” though it did not yet exist in name, or even as a discrete domain of scientific inquiry, was at the very heart of many of the most important debates in seventeenth-century philosophy. Yet while in recent decades much important scholarly work has emerged on the early modern life sciences, the perception persists in the broader scholarly community that the seventeenth century was principally a period in which physics was of central importance. The chapter considers the role of the phenomena of life in the systems of Aristotle, Descartes, and Hobbes in the background of Leibniz's philosophy. It then summarizes the main points on which Leibniz distinguishes his theory from those of his predecessors in the history of philosophical reflection on the nature, structure, and generation of living entities.

Keywords:   G. W. Leibniz, biology, Aristotle, Descartes, Hobbes, philosophy

Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.