Descartes' compositional theory of mental representation

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (2):214-231 (2011)
Abstract
In his, ‘Descartes' Ontology of Thought’, Alan Nelson presents, on Descartes' behalf, a compositional theory of mental representation according to which the content of any mental representation is either simple or is entirely constituted by a combination of innate simples. Here the simples are our ideas of God, thought, extension, and union. My objection will be that it is simply ludicrous to think that any four simples are adequate to the task of combining to constitute all of human thought, and that the simples God, thought, extension, and union are particularly ill suited to it
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