In The Problem of Animal Generation in Early Modern Philosophy Smith examines the early modern science of generation, which included the study of animal conception, heredity, and fetal development. Analyzing how it influenced the contemporary treatment of traditional philosophical questions, it also demonstrates how philosophical pre-suppositions about mechanism, substance, and cause informed the interpretations offered by those conducting empirical research on animal reproduction.
Composed of cutting-edge essays written by an international team of leading scholars, The Problem of Animal Generation in Early Modern Philosophy offers a fresh perspective on some of the basic problems in early modern philosophy. It also considers how these basic problems manifested themselves within an area of scientific inquiry that has not previously received much consideration by historians of philosophy.
Part I. The Dawning of a New Era
1. The comparative study of animal development: from Aristotle to William Harvey J. G. Lennox
2. Monsters, nature, and generation from the Renaissance to the Early Modern period: the emergence of medical thought Annie Bitbol-Hesperies
Part II. The Cartesian Programme
3. Descartes' experiments and the generation of animals Vincent Aucante
4. Imagination and the problem of heredity in Cartesian embryology Justin E. H. Smith
Part III. The Gassdendian Alternative
5. The soul as vehicle for genetic information: Pierre Gassendi's account of inheritance Saul Fisher
6. Atoms and minds in Walter Charleton's theory of animal generation Andreas Blank
Part IV. Second-Wave Mechanism and the Return of Animal Souls, 1650–1700
7 Animal generation and substance in Sennert and Leibniz Richard T. W. Arthur
8. Malebranche on animal generation: pre-existence and the microscope Andrew J. Pyle
9. Spontaneous and sexual generation in Ann Conway's Principles Deborah Boyle
10 'Animal' as category: Pierre Bayle's 'Rorarius' Dennis Des Chene
Part V. Between Epigenesis and Pre-Existence: The Debate Intensifies, 1700–70
11. Method and cause: the Cartesian context of the Haller-Wolff debate Karen Detlefsen
12. Soul power: G. E. Stahl and the debate on animal generation Francesco Paolo di Ceglia
13. Charles Bonnet's neo-Leibnizian theory of organic bodies Francois Duchesneau
Part VI. Kant and His Contemporaries on Development and the Problem of Organized Matter
14. Kant's early views on epigenesis: the role of Maupertuis John Zammito
15. Blumenbach and Kant on the formative drive: mechanism and teleology in nature Brandon Look
16. Kant and the speculative sciences of origins Catherine Wilson
17. Kant and evolution Michael Ruse
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Justin Smith is assistant professor of philosophy at Concordia University in Montreal. A scholar of early modern philosophy, he has contributed to The Leibniz Review, History of Philosophy Quarterly, and the British Journal for the History of Philosophy.