12 Pages

Thermodynamics, Evolution, and Behavior

It was Descartes’s dualistic worldview that pro­ vided the metaphysical foundation for the sub­ sequent success of Newtonian mechanics and the rise of modern science in the 17th century, and it was here at their modern origins as part of this dualistic worldview that psychology and physics were defined by their mutual exclusiv­ ity. According to Descartes, the world was di­ vided into the active, striving, end-directed psy­ chological part (the perceiving mind, thinking I, or Cartesian self) on the one hand, and the “dead” physical part on the other. The physi­ cal part of the world (matter, body), defined exhaustively by its extension in space and time, was seen to consist of reversible (without any inherent direction to time), qualityless particles governed by rigidly deterministic laws from which the striving, immaterial mind (without spatial or temporal dimension) was immune.