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Frog Pond PhilosophyEssays on the Relationship Between Humans and Nature$
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Strachan Donnelley, Ceara Donnelley, and Bruce Jennings

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813167275

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813167275.001.0001

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Nature Alive in Spinoza and Whitehead

Nature Alive in Spinoza and Whitehead

Chapter:
(p.129) 16 Nature Alive in Spinoza and Whitehead
Source:
Frog Pond Philosophy
Author(s):

Strachan Donnelley

, Ceara Donnelley, Bruce Jennings
Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813167275.003.0017

A struggle that began in the seventeenth century is still being waged today. It pits a mechanistic, reductionistic worldview that sets human being apart from the rest of being and mind or cognition apart from the rest of natural reality, on the one side, against a worldview that aims at ontological monism and the relational being of humans and nature, on the other. This chapter presents the terms and aspects of this debate in a close discussion of Descartes and then considers the work of Spinoza and Whitehead against the background of Cartesian thought. Descartes severs an ontological connection between thought and material being, thereby making it impossible to talk about an interconnected web of being. Spinoza rejects this and views all forms of life and material being as finite manifestations of one unbounded active being, Nature (God).

Keywords:   Descartes, Spinoza, Alfred North Whitehead, worldviews

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