Paper presentation: Between dualism and pangenetism: what if Aristotle had not rejected atomism

Abstract: Within the dualistic framework European philosophy supports insolvent problems such as that of the body-mind relationship, but especially problems related to self-identity and the acceptance of a continuity between natural life and the existence of a post-mortem world. I will try to identify a philosophical alternative to dualism because giving up dualism would seem to give naturalism a chance through permissiveness to a more integrative discourse. Such a non-dualistic hypothesis, which does not distinguish between two incompatible natures, be they called matter and form, as in Aristotle, or extension and mind, as in Descartes, would be the old paradigm, to which Aristotle was critical, namely the paradigm of panspermia or pangenesis. The basic assumption of this ancient hypothesis is that of a functional unity between the body and the principle of generation, a unity that explains the similarities between children and parents, and, in patristic literature, the reassociation of the soul with its particular body on the day of the Last Resurrection. Perhaps due to the fact that Aristotle criticizes only the atomistic version of pangenesis, not the Hippocratic one, a spectacular comeback will take place during the period of late antiquity in some patristic texts. Gregory of Nyssa will thus argue that the functioning of the body is a complex of automatic processes, that multiple soul functions are in fact kinds of soul-body connections, and that generation and differentiation are imprints of the intelligible in the body as a substantially indistinct functional unit. We thus find that, in the Christian context, the pangenetist hypothesis can continue to play an important role.

BIOS: Claudiu Mesaroș is a Romanian philosopher, associate professor, at the Faculty of Political Sciences, Philosophy and Communication of the West University of Timisoara. He teaches History of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, History of Early Modern Philosophy, Aristotelianism, Platonism, Philosophy of Descartes, Philosophical Historiography, Introduction to Imagology. Author of several books as sole or first author, dedicated to medieval philosophy, the theory of universals, philosophical historiography, the philosophy of Gerard of Cenad and other themes.  Visiting lecturer of the universities of Szeged (Hungary), Dragomanov Kiev (Ukraine), Complutense Madrid (Spain), Universite de Bourgogne, Dijon (France), Research Center in Neoplatonic Ethics in Copenhagen (Denmark), Ede (Netherlands), Rzeszov (Poland). Member of the Romanian Committee on the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology of the Romanian Academy, Timișoara Branch, Founding member of the Professional Association of Philosophical Counseling, Member of the Kant Society in Romania, International Society for Universal Dialogue, Founding member of SITA (Toma d’Aquino International Society), Romania branch.