A teleological account of cartesian sensations?

Synthese 156 (2):311-336 (2007)
Alison Simmons, in Simmons (1999), argues that Descartes in Meditation Six offered a teleological account of sensory representation. According to Simmons, Descartes’ view is that the biological function of sensations explains both why sensations represent what they do (i.e., their referential content) and why they represent their objects the way they do (i.e., their presentational content). Moreover, Simmons claims that her account has several advantages over other currently available interpretations of Cartesian sensations. In this paper, I argue that Simmons’ teleological account cannot be sustained for both theoretical and textual reasons and that it does not have the advantages it is claimed to have.
Keywords Descartes  Sensory representation  Biological funtion
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-006-0010-4
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Saul Kripke (2010). Naming and Necessity. In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Philosophy. Routledge 431-433.
Nicolas Malebranche (2007/1991). The Search After Truth. In Aloysius Martinich, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Early Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell Pub.

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