‘In Renaissance Naturalism, mind and matter, spirit and body were not considered as separate entities; the ultimate reality in every body was its active principle, which partook at least to some extent of the characteristics of mind and spirit. The Aristotelian principle of ‘form’ had played an analogous role in a more subtle philosophy of nature. The effect of Cartesian dualism, in contrast, was to excise every trace of the psychic from material nature with surgical precision, leaving it a lifeless field knowing only the brute blows of inert chunks of matter.’
Richard S. Westfall (April 22, 1924—August 21, 1996) was an American academic, biographer and historian of science. He is best known for his biography of Isaac Newton and his work on the scientific revolution of the 17th century.