more from René Descartes

Single Idea 16744

[catalogued under 8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 3. Powers as Derived]

Full Idea

There are no powers in stones and plants that are not so mysterious that they cannot be explained …from principles that are known to all and admitted by all, namely the shape, size, position, and motion of particles of matter.

Gist of Idea

All powers can be explained by obvious features like size, shape and motion of matter


René Descartes (Principles of Philosophy [1646], IV.187), quoted by Robert Pasnau - Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671 23.6

Book Reference

Pasnau,Robert: 'Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671' [OUP 2011], p.540

A Reaction

This is an invocation of 'categorical' properties, against dispositions. I take this to be quite wrong. The explanation goes the other way. What supports the structures; what drives the motion; what initiates anything?