Building on the work undertaken by Foucault in the 1960s and ‘70s, Tarizzo analyzes the slow transformation of eighteenth-century naturalism into a nineteenth-century science of life, exploring the philosophical landscape that engendered biology and precipitated the work of such foundational figures as Georges Cuvier and Charles Darwin.
Tarizzo tracks three interrelated themes: first, that the metaphysics of biological life is an extension of the Kantian concept of human will in the field of philosophy; second, that biology and philosophy share the same metaphysical assumptions about life originally advanced by F. W. J. Schelling and adopted by Darwin and his intellectual heirs; and third, that modern biopolitics is dependent on this particularly totalizing view of biological life.
Circumventing tired debates about the validity of science and the truth of Darwinian evolution, this book instead envisions and promotes a profound paradigm shift in philosophical and scientific concepts of biological life.
Originally published in 1983.
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It is argued that multiple realizability still provides irresistible proof (especially with the possibility of immaterial realizers) that mental properties are not identical with any properties of physics, chemistry, or biology. After refuting various attempts to formulate nonreductive physicalism with the notion of realization, a new definition of physicalism is offered. This definition shows how it could be that the mental depends solely on the physical even if mental properties are not identical with those of the natural sciences. Yet, it is also argued that the sort of psychophysical dependence described is robust enough that if it were to obtain, then in a plausible and robust sense of ‘physical’, mental properties would still qualify as physical properties.
"A genuine spiritual quest. ... Extraordinary." — New York Times