Publié le 12 décembre 2018 | Mis à jour le 12 décembre 2018

What Is Life? A Comparative Study of Ralph Cudworth and Nehemiah Grew

Publication: janvier 2014

Auteur: Raphaële Andrault (dans "
The Life Sciences in Early Modern Philosophy" de Ohad Nachtomy et Justin E. H. Smith, p. 29-46)

In the physico-theologies of R. Cudworth and N. Grew, “Life” and vital phenomena are used to prove the excellency of God’s creation and to refute both Cartesian mechanism and atheism. This paper examines first the comparison proposed by Bayle and discussed by Leibniz between Cudworth’s plastic natures or Grew’s principles of Life, on the one hand, and scholastic “substantial forms” on the other hand. By criticizing this comparison and by distinguishing a specific notion of life (life as vegetation) and a generic one (life as incorporeity), this paper shows how the polemical framework of those texts prevents from drawing a clear-cut line between animate and inanimate bodies.

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  • Éditeur
    Oxford University Press
  • Auteur(s)
    Raphaële ANDRAULT