chapter  4
8 Pages

The limits of mechanism

The place of human beings in Descartes’ world

We have now seen an outline of Descartes’ account of nature, and of the relation of nature to God. But where do people fit into that story? The short answer is that they are somewhere between the two, mixing the nature of the one with that of the other. Human beings in themselves are miniature versions of God, living out their lives on Earth, temporarily and somewhat uncomfortably united to the material universe. The story is one which is quite familiar and very natural to us, and has clear implications for the way we should live our lives.