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De la serinette à la tournette : l’ambivalence de la critique du mécanisme cartésien dans le Rêve de D’Alembert.

Abstract : We attempt here, by studying the mechanistic model of the spindle, by which Diderottries to account for the properties of living things, to understand the nature of his receptionof Cartesian mechanism. The model of the spindle is particularly interesting here, as itconcerns the formation of the living being, which Descartes had avoided, in L’Homme, byconsidering ready-made machines. By choosing this model, Diderot thus shows his debt toDescartes as well as the limits of his mechanism — but not of mechanism in general, as itis the mechanistic model of the spindle which is useful to illustrate Bordeu’s point and tocriticize, or at least complete, Cartesian mechanism. Like the bird-organ, introduced byDiderot in the first Dialogue in order to criticize the insufficiency of the Cartesianconception of the body-machine, the spindle is a mechanistic weapon which Diderot uses toshow the limits of Cartesian mechanism. In the case of the bird-organ, the problem forDiderot is the fact that the Cartesian conception of the body-machine is based on thedistinction of two substances, while for the spindle, the problem that Diderot is seriouslydiscussing and that Descartes had not explained was embryology. But in both cases, thecriticisin of Cartesian mechanisin takes place within a frame of thought that remainsprofoundly mechanistic.
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Submitted on : Friday, February 21, 2020 - 6:29:20 PM
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Véronique Le Ru. De la serinette à la tournette : l’ambivalence de la critique du mécanisme cartésien dans le Rêve de D’Alembert.. Recherches sur Diderot et sur l'Encyclopédie, Société Diderot, 2003, Le Rêve de D'Alembert, https://doi.org/10.4000/rde.161. ⟨10.4000/rde.161⟩. ⟨hal-02487732⟩



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