Was Descartes an Individualist? A Critical Discussion of W. Ferraiolo's "Individualism and Descartes"
|Abstract||In his paper "Individualism and Descartes," William Ferraiolo puts into question the widely accepted interpretation of Descartes as an individualist about mental content. In this paper, I intend to defend this interpretation of Descartes's thinking against Ferraiolo's objections. I shall hold, firstly, that attributing to Descartes an individualist doctrine is not historically misguided. Secondly, I will try to show that Descartes's endorsement of anti-individualism would lead either to depriving sceptical hypotheses of their force or to rejecting the epistemological privilege of the first person. And, thirdly, I shall try to show that Ferraiolo's objections to the individualistic interpretation rest on two important errors: a misapprehension of the argumentative order of the Mediations and a confusion between the notions of causal and constitutive dependence of content on the external environment.|
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