History from the Early Modern Philosophers
Interview by Richard Marshall.
Daniel Garber knows philosophy makes some parents go silent and it’s broad enough to encompass everything worth while. He thinks about the history of seventeenth century philosophy, about what makes the early moderns modern, about the giants of the time and what we learn from studying the lesser known ones too, about the importance of Kant to our conception of the early moderns, about Leibniz, about contrasts between Leibniz and Descartes and Spinoza, about the metaphysical schemes of the time, about Descartes and Galileo, about Hobbes and Spinoza, Pascal’s wager, and about x-phi and comparing our present context with the early mods. This one wakes us up to the long years we’ve been travelling…
3:AM: What made you become a philosopher?
Daniel Garber: When I began as an undergraduate at Harvard in 1967, I thought that I was going to become a physicist. My father wanted me to become an engineer, but physics was close enough for him. I was also very interested in music, in composition and in conducting. When I began at Harvard, I also became interested in linguistics. I found the new Chomsky transformational grammar fascinating. George Lakoff, then an assistant professor in Linguistics drew me into his circle. I discovered Philosophy through a course in on the Enlightenment and the French Revolution in the History Department. That, in turn, drew me into the Philosophy Department. I got a “C” on my first course in Philosophy—Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. And I was hooked. Physics had become somewhat dull; I could do very well without really making an effort. But I did make an effort in my Philosophy class, and got a poor grade. It seemed to me that there was obviously more depth in Philosophy than in Physics. (I later discovered that most of the others in the Philosophy class were grad students, taking it for distribution, and that I had no business being there.) So I signed up for Philosophy. (When I called home to tell my parents, there was a strange silence at the other end of the telephone…) In part it was the experience I had with the one course. But it was also because I realized early on that I could pursue virtually all of my interests within Philosophy: the subject was broad enough to encompass all of the things that interested me about physics, about language, about music, and more.
My first years I was doing pretty straight Harvard analytic philosophy, particularly epistemology. In my senior year in college, I took Dreben’s famous seminar in the history of analytic philosophy. I wrote on Russell and his early papers on philosophical analysis. It was then that I first developed a taste for work in the history of philosophy. The interest in Russell took me forward to the Vienna Circle and Logical Positivism. But what took me back to the seventeenth century was, ironically, Quine, one of my teachers.
I was a grad student, still at Harvard. When I first read his famous essay, “Epistemology Naturalized,” I was completely hooked at the idea of naturalizing philosophy and making it continuous with the natural sciences. But the treatment of Descartes struck me as curious. Descartes was the villain of the essay, a philosopher who split philosophy off from the natural sciences. But at the same time I was reading that, I was assisting in a course where we were reading Descartes. The edition used was that of Anscombe and Geach. That edition contained excerpts from some of Descartes’ scientific writings. That made me wonder how Descartes himself thought of the relation between his scientific writings and his philosophy: how could someone who framed laws of motion and did work in optics be anything but a Quinean naturalist? So I began working on that. From another direction, Maurice Mandelbaum’s work on Locke and Boyle made me wonder about his thought. And before long I found myself spending a great deal of my time doing historical work.
I ended up writing a dissertation in epistemology with Roderick Firth and Hilary Putnam. In my years as an assistant professor at Chicago I continued to work in epistemology, switching over to the Bayesian program. I am very proud of the papers I published in that area, which are still read and still regularly refuted. But during that time I found myself working more and more on the history of early modern philosophy and science. After my tenure decision, I decided that I had to make a choice: I couldn’t continue to do both and do both well. So I chose history, and have never regretted it.
3:AM: You’re working primarily in studies of the early moderns, which is roughly European philosophy of the seventeenth century isn’t it? I guess the shorthand sketch of this crucial time goes something like ‘move aside Aristotle we’re going to build everything like a machine’. What would you say made the early moderns modern?
DG: Your characterization of the early moderns is not inaccurate. Aristotelianism in one form or another was the common culture of the period: it was the philosophy generally taught in all of the schools. As such, it was studied by virtually every educated person in Europe. And many (though not all) who rejected the Aristotelian philosophy adopted some version of the mechanical philosophy. But there were more new strands than the mechanical philosophy. There was the new experimentalism and natural history. There was also the emphasis on mathematics in understanding nature. There was also a resurgence of interest in atomism, which is something a bit different from the mechanical philosophy. And these didn’t always coincide in the same figures, nor were these always shared by those who rejected Aristotelianism.
What, then, made the early moderns modern? Interestingly, not the mechanical philosophy, the idea that everything can be explained through size, shape and motion and the collision of bodies, something that was widely called into question after Newton and the theory of universal gravitation. On the other hand, the early-modern emphasis on experiment and mathematics in many quarters still resonates with us. But to my mind, what was most modern was the rejection of authority—the authority of the schools, the ancients, the church, the university—and the development of the idea that knowledge advances through the free exchange of new ideas and the competition among people who attack problems from different perspectives.
3:AM: I guess the giants of this period are Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley and Hume. If we only knew these six would we be able to understand the options that were being worked out at this time or would we be missing crucial elements? I suppose another way of framing this question would be: had these not come along were their lesser known contemporaries who’d have taken us in a different direction?
DG: These six were certainly important, but they weren’t the only ones. At very least one would have to add figures like Bacon, Galileo, Hobbes (not only for politics, but for his materialistic conception of the world), Huygens, Newton. But there are also a number of others who are not so well known. In the late sixteenth century there were figures like Telesio and Patrizi. (In fact, when Descartes was working, it was probably Telesio who was considered the father of modern philosophy!) Later in the seventeenth century there were other important figures like Mersenne, Gassendi, the Cambridge Platonists Henry More and Ralph Cudworth, Antoine Arnauld and Malebranche. And there were a slew of others even less known today, including Basson, Gorlaeus, Hill, Fludd, d’Espagnet, and many, many others. Recently there has been a surge of interest in women philosophers in the period, including Elisabeth of Bohemia, Margaret Cavendish, Anne Conway and others. And the list is constantly growing.
What do we learn from studying these lesser-known figures? In a way, they provide the context for the larger figures who have entered the canon. There is no question that Descartes, for example, shaped the philosophical landscape more than Henry More. But to understand what Descartes really meant, why he was singled out among his contemporaries you have to understand More as a reader, correspondent, and commentator on Descartes, as well as many other lesser-known contemporaries, such as Clauberg or de La Forge or Rohault: they help us understand what Descartes really meant, what was striking and important and original to his contemporaries, and how his central doctrines were understood by those who shared an intellectual context with him. Now, to understand Spinoza, it is generally acknowledged that you have to understand Descartes and Descartes’ influence. But Spinoza’s Descartes was not our Descartes: his readings were shaped by the readings that other contemporaries made. Spinoza’s Descartes, the Descartes that shaped his philosophy was a seventeenth-century Descartes that can only be found by reading the lesser-known figures who read him, commented on him, and fought with him. For me, then, it seems essential to step outside the short list of major figures, and explore the larger intellectual geography. But it’s also just really interesting to immerse yourself in a different world, to explore an exotic intellectual landscape, to put yourself into the intellectual world before it was known who would emerge as the important thinkers, and who would sink into obscurity.
What would the world have been like if the big guys hadn’t been there? Who knows? It would have been so much different from the world that we live in that I have real trouble conceiving it. It is hard enough exploring our world without worrying about other distant possible worlds.
3:AM: An interesting exercise you undertook with Beatrice Longuenesse was to look at the achievements through the lens of Kant’s transcendental philosophical approach to metaphysics. He saw the efforts of the early moderns as reasons ruined edifices. Did Kant read the moderns correctly or did he distort and mislead? How important is Kant to how post Kantian philosophers like ourselves have read the early moderns?
DG: I think that Kant was very important to our conception of the early moderns. Kant read the history of philosophy as the prelude to his own philosophy. It is generally thought that the standard distinction between Rationalists and Empiricists that has shaped both pedagogy and research in the period derives from Kant and his followers, who saw the Kantian philosophy as putting together these two great traditions. Now, Kant’s interests were not historical: he was interested in his great predecessors as philosophers, who attempted to deal with the same problems that interested him, unsuccessfully, in his view. But in reading the history in the way in which he did, he introduced distortions that have colored our historical understanding of the period ever since. “Rationalist” and “Empiricist,” conceived of as schools of thought or coherent traditions were not part of the intellectual geography of the early modern period.
My not-so-hidden agenda in the conference I did with Beatrice and in Kant and the Early Moderns, the book that came out of it was to undermine the distinction, as it is usually drawn, and to think about some of these characters as they thought of themselves. Reason, for example, was very important to Descartes, but he also recognized the importance of the senses and was an important experimentalist. Furthermore, he wasn’t driven mainly by epistemological questions; among his contemporaries, his physics was probably more salient than anything else. And it is somewhat strange to link Descartes in a school with Spinoza and Leibniz, both of whom differed profoundly from him, and saw themselves as anti-Cartesians. On the other hand, Berkeley, usually listed among the empiricists, shared a great deal with Descartes’ views on mental substance, and differed profoundly from Locke on those basic questions. In many ways, he is best read as a follower of the Cartesian Malebranche.
3:AM: You’ve done a lot of work on Leibniz. Is he your favourite from this period? What’s the appeal?
DG: I adore Leibniz, but he is only one among a number of favorites in the period. Now that the book, Leibniz: Body, Substance, Monad is out, I’m working less on Leibniz and more on other figures, such as Bacon, Hobbes, and Spinoza. I’m also working on a project on the new philosophies (in the plural) that sought to replace Aristotelianism, including many figures now virtually unknown, the struggle among the new philosophies and the debates over the value of novelty.
But still, I find Leibniz fascinating. I was initially attracted to Leibniz precisely because I found him so difficult to crack. Monads? What are they? And why would anyone as smart and sensible as Leibniz seems to have been proposed something so apparently outlandish? They seem particularly outrageous when you reflect on the fact that Leibniz was a serious physicist. A number of conservation laws we now accept—the conservation of inertia and his conservation of what we now call energy—first appear in his writings. I wanted to see if I could figure out where monads come from. Part of the answer comes in understanding the views that he was opposing, such as the Cartesian conception of body as extended substance. But much of the answer comes from understanding how he came to posit them. My first surprise was the discovery that he didn’t always believe in a world of monads. This is still controversial, but it seems evident to me that during much of his career, including the years in which he wrote the ‘Discourse on Metaphysics’ and the Correspondence with Arnauld, monads were not in the picture.
Instead, he believed in a world of corporeal substances, understood like tiny animals, living things that were composed of body and soul. What motivated this metaphysics was the basic commitment that the world had to be made up of genuine individuals, something largely missing from the Cartesian world of extension. But sometime in the mid- and late 1690s, when Leibniz was around 40 years old, I would claim, considerations around the idea of what it meant to be a genuine individual forced Leibniz to give up corporeal substances as the basic building blocks, and adopt the theory of monads. The theory of monads did not emerge full blown from his philosophical imagination; over the years that followed its original introduction in the late 1690s Leibniz spent considerable effort working out the details of the monadological metaphysics. I find it fascinating to watch it grow and develop.
3:AM: Leibniz never published his ‘Monadology’ and seemed to have kept it well hidden didn’t he? What he was attempting to do in this work? And why do you think he didn’t publish it?
DG: The ‘Monadology’ was written in 1714, at the request of some correspondents who were very confused about the theory of monads. We now have a great number of Leibniz’s texts, both published and unpublished, and freely mix them when we are interpreting his thought. But his contemporary readers had only the published texts, unless, like de Volder or Des Bosses, they were lucky enough to engage Leibniz in extensive correspondence. And what is extraordinary is that the theory of monads barely appears in the published writings. When in 1714 he was asked to explain his theory, he took the request seriously, and produced two writings: the ‘Monadology’ and the ‘Principles of Nature and Grace.’ Neither was published during Leibniz’s lifetime, but it was only the latter that was sent to anyone, so far as we know. The ‘Monadology’ was only published in 1720 and 1721, in German and Latin translations. How the editors got the manuscript is still something of a mystery.
Why did he write it? My conjecture is this. Leibniz had discussed monads with some of his correspondents, most notably de Volder and Des Bosses, but in a sort of unsystematic way, in response to their questions and to the demands of the moment. Remember here that Leibniz was not a professional philosopher; he was involved in many, many other projects of all sorts, and metaphysics was just one of his many interests. Leibniz’s metaphysical thought had evolved considerably since the last attempts at systematic development in the 1690s, and I suspect that he took this opportunity to set out his thought in a systematic way. (It is important to note here that ‘Monadology’ was not Leibniz’s own title for the work.) Why did Leibniz choose to distribute the ‘Principles’ and not the ‘Monadology’? There are lots of conjectures, but I honestly don’t know. And why did he choose not to publish either? No doubt in part because he thought that the theory was so distant from common sense that it would not be accepted. But, I suspect, it was also in part because he wasn’t entirely satisfied with it. The large gap in the ‘Monadology’ is the relation between the world of monads and the world of bodies. While this is an issue that is taken up in some of the correspondences, it is entirely missing in the ‘Monadology’. I suspect that he felt reluctant to make his theory public until this problem was resolved. But this is just a conjecture.
3:AM: I think you argue that Leibniz was unlike Descartes and Spinoza in that he wasn’t someone who thought you had to build a totalizing system but rather he worked in all sorts of different domains and areas. He sounds like an early version of the modern intellectual landscape of specialization where even if there is an assumption of a single world there’s no obligation to have to know everything to be able to study some of its parts in isolation. Is this right? Could you say something about this aspect of Leibniz?
DG: There is some truth to that. Leibniz did think that everything fits together, and that there is a kind of harmony among the many different parts of his world view, which included metaphysics, physics, logic, mathematics, the life sciences, including medicine, alchemy, history, politics, geology, and on and on and on. But, at the same time, he never wrote a single work that can be said to represent the canonical statement of his views, such as Descartes’ Meditations or Principia, or Spinoza’s Ethics. Students are often sent to the ‘Discourse on Metaphysics’ or ‘Monadology’, but these are not really comparable to the canonical writings of other contemporary philosophers: both were withheld from publication, and there is reason to think that he was not entirely satisfied with either. Leibniz’s writings tend to be shorter and focus on bits of his system, presented in such a way that they can be accepted piecemeal, without having to accept his whole framework. Good examples of that are the ‘New System’ and the ‘Specimen Dynamicum’, both published in 1695. The one argues for the hypothesis of pre-established harmony, and the other outlines features of his dynamics, the theory of force in physics, offering focused development of a portion of his thought. And both were published in learned journals.
It is very significant that Leibniz began writing at just the moment that the learned journal was invented, and virtually all of his publications in philosophy, physics, and mathematics were in such journals. His way of working was very well suited to that form, and perhaps shaped by it. This is, indeed, something that resonates with contemporary philosophy. A David Lewis may well have a larger systematic view in mind when publishing a journal article, but nevertheless, his articles are focused on certain well-defined points and can be appreciated independently of the larger framework into which they may be fit.
3:AM: This period was full of great metaphysical schemes and some, like Descartes, thought that you had to have this grounding in order for physics to work. I think you say he had a go at Galileo for being remiss on this. Was Descartes’ view the typical approach to physics at the time?
DG: Yes and no. In a way, Descartes’ idea that physics needs grounding was a reflection of what was going on in the schools. In the Aristotelian manuals of natural philosophy, one always began with general truths about space, time, motion, and the grounding of physics in matter, form and privation. Descartes’ metaphysical foundations were not the same as the Aristotelian foundations, but the idea of foundations was, in a sense, borrowed from what he had learned at school. Galileo took a very different view. Unlike Descartes, he didn’t claim to know the nature of body, and never articulated anything he called a law of nature. For him it was mathematics that was primary. In his Two New Sciences, Galileo sought to display the mathematical structure in nature. In this respect, though, he was following a path within earlier scientific thought different from the one Descartes chose to follow. Descartes was a natural philosopher or physicist, which meant that all knowledge must be grounded in knowledge of the true underlying causes. Mixed mathematics, which included positional astronomy, optics, music and mechanics, on the other hand, attempted to give a mathematical description of nature without descending to the level of physics, which treated the real causes, efficient, final, material, and formal that govern the world. But this mathematical description was not physics, for Descartes, and he criticized Galileo for that reason. And so, for example, Descartes rejected Galileo’s account of free fall because Galileo was ignorant of the real cause of the free fall of heavy bodies. A physics of heavy bodies could only be done, Descartes thought, if we know what is the true cause of gravitation. Descartes thought that he had the true cause of heaviness and free fall—the motion of a vortex of subtle matter surrounding the earth. But unfortunately, the causal account was too complicated for him to be able to derive a mathematical account of the relation between time and distance fallen when a heavy body falls.
3:AM: You write about Descartes program for philosophy as a dead end, that failed, and that was doomed from the start. Was this was down to its too wide a scope, compared to Galileo and Newton? Why do you think that despite all this rather damning summary we miss something important if we don’t see each of his arguments and doctrines within the full context of his system?
DG: I wouldn’t say that Descartes’ program was doomed “from the start.” It was a reasonable program to undertake at that moment. But then, so was Galileo’s rather different and incompatible program. Indeed, in Descartes and Galileo we have a lovely instance of what Kuhn should have recognized as incommensurable paradigms. Descartes and Galileo could perfectly well understand what one another were doing; there was no incommensurability in that sense. But they had incompatible epistemic values. For Galileo what was important was mathematical structure. If you could get a causal story as well, that was even better, but secondary to the mathematics. For Descartes, on the other hand, it was the causal story that was important. He was quite satisfied with the causal story he could tell about free fall, and it didn’t concern him so much that he couldn’t give a mathematical account of free fall. From the point of view of a contemporary, though, it wasn’t obvious which of these two incompatible programs should be adopted.
In the end, the Galilean program seemed to win out over the Cartesian program, though perhaps not for some time. (The Galilean program informs Newton’s physics, and the Cartesian approach informs Leibniz’s. But both Newton and Leibniz were live programs well into the eighteenth century.) At the same time, you are right, we do miss something important in Descartes if we don’t understand the way in which his thought embraces a certain view of the physical world and certain methodological views about the relation between physics and metaphysics.
3:AM: As well as metaphysics and physics the period is also important in what it developed in terms of morality and politics. Hobbes and Spinoza are important but contrasting figures you’ve written about. Hobbes thought physics grounded ethics and politics didn’t he? Can you say something about Hobbes’s materialism and his idea of human nature, and how it contrasts with Spinoza’s vision?
DG: Actually, in many ways Hobbes and Spinoza are quite similar. Hobbes did indeed think that politics was grounded in physics. (There is a significant debate over whether Hobbes had an ethics, properly speaking.) After a preliminary essay on logic, what we might now call epistemology, his system begins with physics or natural philosophy. This is the project of his De corpore. The physics, in turn, grounds a theory of the human being, a physical object of particular interest. This is the project of De homine. And finally, there is the politics of De cive, where we discuss how human beings come together to form the commonwealth. The Leviathan is a popular presentation of the system.
Spinoza’s system is not altogether different. While there is an element of physics (in my view, inspired more by Hobbes than by Descartes), his system begins in part I of the Ethics with metaphysics, God or nature. But very quickly we are in the territory of the human being and its affects in parts II and III, an account of human cognition and the passions that owes a great deal to Hobbes’s account. This, in turn, grounds a politics in part IV (and in the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus as well) that is obviously inspired by the contractarian politics Hobbes advanced.
There are important differences, of course. For Hobbes, the ultimate goal is a stable commonwealth; he has little to say beyond that. For Spinoza, though, the formation of the civil state is a stepping stone toward ultimate salvation, what he calls beatitude or intellectual love of God. This is something that goes beyond anything in Hobbes. Connected with this difference is the fact that Spinoza recognizes a domain of thought distinct in some ways from that of extension, and recognizes a domain of the eternal distinct from that of the temporal. But even so, the imprint of Hobbes can be seen through much of what Spinoza wrote.
3:AM: You also wrote a little book about Pascal, What Happens After Pascal’s Wager: Living Faith and Rational Belief. This seems rather different from the other things that you have written in the history of philosophy. How does it fit in?
DG: In a way it is different, but in many ways it fits nicely with the larger issues that interest me. The early modern period filled with talk about God. One might say that God is omnipresent. In Descartes, God guarantees clear and distinct perceptions and grounds the laws of nature, in Spinoza God is at the foundation of everything, in Leibniz, God’s creation of the best of all possible worlds sets the balance of good and bad in the world. Even Hobbes finds that he has to discuss God: the whole second part of the Leviathan is about God and the Bible. So it is not so surprising that I would want to take up one of the central figures in religious thought in the period. Pascal’s wager has always been of special interest to me. I used to work in probability and decision theory, and connected with that, in the history of probability. The wager is one of the very first attempts to take probabilistic reasoning outside of the relatively orderly domain of games of chance and apply it to something else.
I am not a believer, but even so I find myself drawn to Pascal’s wager argument. I know that there are some standard objections to it, and many consider it hopeless. I actually think that it is better than many do. But that’s not the argument of the book. What intrigues me even more is what happens after the wager. The wager argument tries to convince the reader that believing in God is a better bet than not: you will win whether or not God actually exists. Suppose you are convinced, and agree that it would be a good thing to believe in God. How do you do it? Contrary to what Descartes seems to have held, belief is not voluntary: one can’t simply decide to believe in God and then do it. And Pascal knows that. What he advises instead is that we should play the part of the believer, and the belief will come:
Learn from those who were bound like you, and who now wager all they have. … Follow the way by which they began: they acted as if they believed, took holy water, had masses said, etc. This will make you believe naturally and mechanically.
I think that Pascal is very astute here psychologically speaking. I’m sure that if you follow his advice, you will come to belief. But should you trust it? Is it just a matter of self-deception? Or rather, is it that by following this procedure you will eliminate your prejudices and come to appreciate truths that had escaped you before? This is what I explore in the book.
While it is connected with my historical interests, this project is more epistemology than history, an exploration of belief and reason. In the end I am not convinced to take the step Pascal recommends, and I remain an unbeliever. But I am not as confident as some of my philosophical colleagues that there is decisive evidence against the theological perspective and that it is positively irrational to believe.
3:AM: Contemporary philosophy seems to be much more like these early moderns in that with xphi and cross disciplinary work in physics, history, ethics, politics, law, philosophy of mind etc etc. Philosophy seems less isolated from the rest of the academy, in both humanities and sciences than it was in the near past, say in the seventies. Is this something you’d agree with? How do you assess the state of philosophy at the moment and how does it compare with its state in the early modern times?
DG: It’s complicated. I was there in the 1970s, as a grad student and as a young faculty member. X-phi didn’t exist then, but even so, there was significant cross-disciplinary work. Quine, whom I mentioned earlier, had his program for epistemology naturalized. More generally, he argued that philosophy was continuous with the natural sciences. This, in a way, was continuous with the Logical Positivist tradition out of which he came. They also thought that all real knowledge was scientific, but unlike Quine, they recognized a special kind of knowledge, logical knowledge, which is where Philosophy fit. Quine was, in a way, logical positivism without the analytic/synthetic distinction. And there was also the program of History and Philosophy of Science (HPS), which sought to integrate philosophy of science with history of the development of the sciences. When I arrived at the University of Chicago in the fall of 1975, I immediately joined the Committee on the Conceptual Foundations of Science, an amalgam of philosophers, historians, and active participants from a variety of the sciences, including Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Astrophysics and Anthropology. It was a lively group. Though there were some isolationists, there were many of us, even back then in the Dark Ages, who saw Philosophy as a part of a larger intellectual whole.
But in an important sense, this is not exactly like it was in the early modern period. Philosophy as we now practice it, as a discipline with an identity distinct from that of the sciences, did not exist then. Philosophy was at the center of the curriculum for students in the “arts” curriculum, the years preceding specialization in Theology, Medicine, or Law. Philosophy generally had four parts: logic, ethics, metaphysics, and natural philosophy or physics. Physics included a general part, which treated of notions like space, time, matter, form, and privation, and a specific part, which included cosmology, terrestrial physics, and living things, including plants, animals, and humans. When a Descartes or a Leibniz did philosophy, they didn’t limit themselves to what modern philosophers thought about, issues in epistemology or metaphysics or ethics or politics. The entire world—including what we think of as the scientific world—was part of their domain. Unlike modern philosophers, they didn’t have to take what experts in the sciences give them and work within its parameters: they could and did dabble in all branches of systematic knowledge. This is an important difference from philosophers today; even with the new interdisciplinarity, there is a sense in which there are different professional expertises that we have to recognize. Though philosophers have learned to cross the lines, there are still lines to cross, professional associations, departments and so on that guard their special authority. They didn’t exist in the early modern period.
It is hard to say exactly when that changed. In some ways you can see a distinction between philosophy and the sciences emerging in Locke or Berkeley; perhaps it didn’t fully emerge until later in the eighteenth century with Hume and Kant. In a way, with the new interdisciplinary spirit of philosophy we are working our way back to what we had in the days of Descartes and Galileo, Leibniz and Newton. But there is still a ways to go.
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First published in 3:AM Magazine: Sunday, February 15th, 2015.