What Descartes Did Not Know

Journal of Value Inquiry 44 (3):297-311 (2010)
Abstract
Descartes’ epistemologies of meditation and sense imply that we cannot know anything about the mind-body union, either in the Cartesian sense of having scientia or, more interestingly, in terms of any other concept of knowledge available to Descartes. After considering the implications of this conclusion for what we may know about mind-body interaction, it becomes clear that, on Descartes’ view, we at best can be said to know that mind-body interaction, if it does in fact take place, does not violate a set of causal principles, without knowing how mind and body interact, or even if they interact at all. (This article is the winner of the 2010 Rockefeller Prize awarded by the American Philosophical Association.)
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