Descartes and Technics : Masters and Possessors of Nature

Masters and possessors of nature : A metaphysical project

Descartes is always associated with the philosophy of technology. If Francis Bacon introduced the idea of ​​conquering conquering nature, yet it is Descartes who is seen as the first thinker of modern science.

Descartes left us mathematical physics, one of the foundations of modern science. Descartes also believed that medicine should be the main topic of research scientists, because health is the main asset of life and the foundation of all other goods. The technology project was immediately biotechnological technology could spare us the decline of old age.

Nature and power of subjectivity

Descartes speaks of mastery of nature in the last part (part six) of his Discourse on Method, that is to say once the cogito, the existence of God, innate ideas, the correct method discover the truths are established. The theme of the meeting is the master of nature created by God, but messy, and man, what about power, which is only able to organize and to know that nature.

Philosophy and practice

This desire to control nature also means the willingness to break with Descartes’s theoretical philosophy, speculative. Before him, science was contemplation of truth, it must be useful to men. Before Marx, Descartes states that theoretical thought is sterile.

Ecological implications

Descartes he advocates the aggressive domination of nature? No, Descartes said that man must cease to be a slave of nature, that man can make nature useful to men by improving their knowledge of nature.

Descartes and limits of our domination

Basically, Descartes refers rather an ambiguous image of our conquest of nature: science can “make us masters and possessors of nature”. In other words, the man may seek to dominate nature, he can pretend this conquest, but that knowledge will always be imperfect.

The Cartesian science project is complex because it relies on a strong subjectivity, which seeks to improve living conditions, but also aware of its limitations.

Cite this article as: Tim, "Descartes and Technics : Masters and Possessors of Nature, May 10, 2012, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, May 10, 2012,

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