Cartesian reductionism

Cartesian reductionism (labeled)
A still of the famous Cartesian reductionism scene (17:04-23:00), from the 1990 film Mindwalk (V), by Austrian-born American producer Bernt Capra, based on (Ѻ) his brother Fritjof Capra’s 1982 book The Turning Point, wherein, a dialogue accrues between a "romantic" poet, a "mechanistic" politician, and a "holist" physicist, wherein the physicist, at the bell tower of the Abbey of Mont St. Michel, France, explains how the gravitationally operated mechanisms of the clock, via Descartes (1637), became the standard model for the cosmos, after which, people began to mistake the model for the real thing, as the physicist argues, i.e. that nature was just a giant clock, not a living organism, but a machine—a “mechanistic view” that still dominates the world today, according to the physicist, even so-called political mechanics.
In terminology, Cartesian reductionism, refers to the brand of reductionism promoted by Rene Descartes (1637), according to which all operational things, such as animals and trees, can be reduced to the mechanisms of its parts in operation, similar to the way a clock marks the hours by means of the gears internal to its composition, driven by the power of the pendulum.

In 1637, French thinker Rene Descartes, in part five of his Discourse on Method, in elaboration on his so-called principles of philosophy argued that an organism is akin to a machine or automaton:

“… a machine which having been made by the hands of God is incomparably better arranged, and is more admirable in its motions, than any that could be invented by men; and if there were such machines, which had the organs and appearances of an ape or some other nonrational animal, we would have no way of realizing that they were not of exactly the same nature as the animals …”

He then states that the whole world, animate and inanimate, operates like the mechanisms of clock:

“I have described this earth, and the whole visible world in general, as if it were a machine in the shape and movements of its parts … for example, when a clock marks the hours by means of the wheels of which it is made, it is no less natural for it to do so than it is for a tree to produce its fruits.”

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Religion | Science
The interjection of Descartes’ machine model of nature, as summarized by the Capra brothers, in their 1990 film Mindwalk (V), initiated a revolutionary break with the church (20:45-22:00), because it situated the view that we no longer needed the Pope, or the teachings of religion, to tell people what to do, because the universe was a giant mechanism, the laws, rules, and operation of which people can figure out for themselves.

See also
● Gibbsian reductionism
● Newtonian reductionism

1. Lewontin, Richard C. (1983). “The Corpse in the Elevator” (Ѻ), New York Review of Books, Jan 20, Jan.

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