Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About | Media | Search | Contact  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



Mar 20, 2008
This week's theme
Words from guest wordsmith Matt Ball, founder of Vegan Outreach

This week's words
factory farming

The Anagram Times
Read it today

Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share
with Anu Garg


Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

Cartesian (kar-TEE-zhuhn) adjective

adjective: Of or relating to Descartes, his theories, methods, or philosophy, especially its emphasis on mechanistic interpretation.

[From Cartesius, Latin form of Descartes, after philosopher René Descartes (1596-1650).]

"To visit a modern CAFO (Confined/Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) is to enter a world that, for all its technological sophistication, is still designed according to Cartesian principles: animals are machines incapable of feeling pain. Since no thinking person can possibly believe this any more, industrial animal agriculture depends on a suspension of belief on the part of the people who operate it and a willingness to avert your eyes on the part of everyone else."
Michael Pollan; An Animal's Place; The New York Times; Nov 10, 2002.

See more usage examples of cartesian in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.


When the oak is felled the whole forest echoes with its fall, but a hundred acorns are sown in silence by an unnoticed breeze. -Thomas Carlyle, historian and essayist (1795-1881)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere


Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2023 Wordsmith