"Descartes was old news within a couple centuries even within philosophy, and he never had a significant impact on science."
The division of mind and matter was primarley advocated by Decart in the celebrated statement: 'Cogito ergo sum' which made people of the west identify themselves with their rational mind and not with their whole organism . This division between mind and matter made people see all phenomena in terms of seperate objects. But I could go on and on about how decart's philosophy and newtonian mechanics influenced ALL the sciences. I'm just going to quote Fritjof Capra about Descarts influence on science: "Descartes' method is analytic. It consists in breaking up thoughts and problems into pieces and in arranging these in their logical order. This analytic medhod of reasoning is probably Decartes' greatest contribution to science. It has become an essential characteristic
of modern scientific thought
and has proved extremely useful in the development of scientific theories and the realization of complex technological projects ." Fritjof Capra, The Turning Point p. 44
. Descartes should not under any circumstance be looked upon as unimportant. If you do, you will be unable to explain the development of scientific thought, method and its development.
Another thing. Modern economics where founded basicaly by Sir William Petty, some 300 years ago. His ideas was emulated, adopted, adapted and further developed by many economists which influence on todays society cannoy be underestimated. Adam Smith, Karl Marx and Keynes to name some. His theories was developed using languange that as much as possible imitated the "hard"
sciences to win support in the scientific community, in which they saw the method physics and mathmatics the ones that came closest to describing reality. Economic frameworks is NOT able do develop on it's own. It is able to develop very freely on "its own" WITHIN its framework
, given the nature of the free trade concept, open competition etc. This could give the impression that it operates without rules for those that have not looked into the matter. Well, it does submit to rules as everything else.