This book explores the breadth of philosophical interest in life and death during the early modern period. It connects debates in philosophy with the life sciences, linking the study of organisms to the practical aspect of philosophy, and reminding us that that philosophers were concerned with learning how to live and how to die.
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This book sets out to convey the breadth of philosophical interest in life and death during the early modern period. It ranges over debates in metaphysics, the life sciences (as we now call them), epistemology, the philosophy of mathematics, philosophical psychology, the philosophy of religion, the philosophy of education, and ethics. At the same time, it aims to illuminate the relationships between the problems explored under these headings. Much of the fascination
of early modern discussions of life and death lies in the way apparently disparate commitments merge into strange and unfamiliar outlooks, and challenge some of our most deeply rooted assumptions.
In recent years there has been a wave of interest in the place of the life sciences within early modern natural philosophy, and biological questions about life and death form part of the subject matter discussed in these chapters. But Life and Death in Early Modern Philosophy has a further ambition: to link the predominantly theoretical preoccupations associated with the study of organisms to the practical aspect of philosophy. Instead of giving priority to themes that anticipate the
preoccupations of modern science, the volume aims to remind us that philosophy, as our early modern predecessors understood it, was also about learning how to live and how to die—this, above all, is why life and death mattered to them.