Machine and Communication of Corporeal Dispositions in Descartes and La Forge: The Mysterious ‘Article 83’ of L’Homme and La Forge’s Comments

  • Philippe DrieuxEmail author
Part of the Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 43)


In the Remarques he added to L’Homme, La Forge lays the emphasis on a few lines that Clerselier had isolated in his Table as an “article 83”. For la Forge, Descartes didn’t tell enough to be completely understood, though the subject was in itself full of beauty. What is at stake are the relations between machines – that kind of fictitious machines that enabled Descartes to describe and explain animal as well as human corporal behaviour, solely and apart from mental influence. What Descartes really meant remains rather unsure, and even confused, but La Forge seems to consider that he may go further. He intends to make up for the missing explanation. What kind of relations are at work between corporeal machines, especially when similar behaviours are observed ? What consequences are to be expected for society? Is La Forge faithful to Descartes in this operation, or is he sliding to a different stage, which has more to do with occasionalism than cartesianism ?


Imitation Sympathy Communication of passions 

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IHRIM, UMR 5317 CNRS, Université de Rouen-NormandieMont Saint AignanFrance

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