Transplanting the Metaphysical Organ: German Romanticism between Leibniz and Marx

Transplanting the Metaphysical Organ: German Romanticism between Leibniz and Marx

Transplanting the Metaphysical Organ: German Romanticism between Leibniz and Marx

Transplanting the Metaphysical Organ: German Romanticism between Leibniz and Marx

Synopsis

"Around 1800, German romanticism developed a philosophy this study calls ""Romantic organology."" Scientific and philosophical notions of biological function and speculative thought converged to form the discourse that Transplanting the Metaphysical Organ reconstructs-a metaphysics meant to theorize, and ultimately alter, the structure of a politically and scientifically destabilized world."

Excerpt

René Descartes’s (1596–1650) Treatise on Man begins with the curious sentence, “These men will be composed, as we are, of body and soul.” Descartes is famous for leaving aesthetic speculation out of his refounding of the philosophical enterprise, but his intended treatise on the most intimate part of the world, the body, is written as fiction—as he puts it in his Discourse on Method, a “historical record” or “fable.” Descartes’s hesitation to state his claims directly came from rumors of what had happened to Galileo, who had been condemned just as Descartes was composing the treatise in 1633—claims for the reality of the earth’s rotation were punishable, and Descartes worried about his own doctrines in this light. Even fictional devices might not be spared. The resulting fable had an extreme realist pretense: to derive a world similar to ours from mechanical interactions alone, and then to prove that this other world is identical to ours. The human body would be treated as though it did not possess a soul, as though God had directly fashioned a “statue or machine made of earth … with the . . .

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