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  1. Lex Newman, Descartes' Rationalist Epistemology.
    Doubtless Descartes belongs in the rationalist tradition. Stating why is not so easy. He nowhere characterizes the view we call 'rationalism', nor does he describe himself as a rationalist. His express commitment to a doctrine of innateness is suggestive though not sufficient, for some philosophers (e.g., Kant) accept such a doctrine while rejecting rationalism. Further suggestive is that he links innateness with the achievement of knowledge: [W]e come to know them [innate truths] by the power of our own native intelligence, (...)
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  2. Lex Newman, Rocking the Foundations of Cartesian Knowledge: Critical Notice of Janet Broughton.
    Janet Broughton’s Descartes’s Method of Doubt1 is a systematic study of the role of doubt in Descartes’s epistemology. The book has two parts. Part 1 focuses on the development of doubt in the First Meditation, exploring such topics as the motivation behind methodic doubt; the targeted audience; the method’s game-like character (on her view); its relations to ancient skepticism, its reasonableness; the method’s presuppositions relative to commonsense belief; Michael Williams’s recent criticisms of Descartes; and more. Part 2 focuses on how (...)
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  3. Lex Newman, Vinci's Formulation of the Truth Rule.
    On his interpretation, the Truth Rule is intended to provide an epistemic principle that grounds specifically existential knowledge. Vinci builds his account around Descartes' doctrine that "if we perceive the presence of some attribute, we can infer that there must also be present an existing thing or substance to which it may be attributed" (Prin. 1:51, CSM 1:210, AT 8a:25). As Vinci understands it, the Truth Rule is a principle ensuring (roughly) that whatever properties I clearly and distinctly perceive are (...)
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  4. Lex Newman, Descartes on the Will in Judgment.
    On Descartes' account, the will is the central player in judgment, a role that this essay aims to explain. Section 1 situates the will in Descartes' broader ontology of mind. Section 2 characterizes the will's contributions to judgment. Section 3 addresses the will's voluntary control over judgment. Section 4 considers whether, on Descartes' account, our epistemic responsibility in judgment is best understood as a form of compatibilism or incompatibilism.
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  5. Lex Newman, Phil 3200 - Deductive Logic.
    It is not uncommon for students to try, and indeed to succeed, in buying the course texts used. This often makes a great deal of sense. But for this course, you must buy the textbook new . Here's why. The textbook comes with software that you will use to submit all of the course homeworks. The problem is that only one student can register the software , per book — period. So, if you buy the textbook used, not only do (...)
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  6. Lex Newman, Phil 1000 - Intro: Survey of Philosophy.
    McGraw-Hill Primis custom course pack. (Bundled with the course pack will be an Enrollment Code that you'll eventually need. Don't buy a course pack unless it is shrink-wrapped, thus including the code.) CPS remote clicker device — here's what it looks like . You may need to talk with a bookstore employee to find out where they have the remote devices, assuming information is not posted with the course packs. (NOTE: The bookstore is also selling the..
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  7. Lex Newman, Phil 5120 / 6120 - Modern & Recent Philosophy.
    An Essay concerning Human Understanding , by John Locke ISBN: 0198245955. This is the standard scholarly edition of Locke's Essay published by Oxford and edited by Peter Nidditch. This version contains countless aids for the scholar and student and is the version of the..
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  8. Lex Newman, Phil 4120 - Early Modern Philosophy.
    Since this is a survey course (one in which we'll consider some philosophical views from a wide variety of philosophers), buying texts for a course like this one is potentially a very expensive endeavor. I have tried to keep down the costs in two kinds of ways. First, in some cases I will simply provide web readings (rather than having you buy a whole text). Second, I have ordered..
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  9. Lex Newman (2013). Frankfurt and the Cartesian Circle. In Stewart Duncan & Antonia LoLordo (eds.), Debates in Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings and Contemporary Responses. Routledge. 18.
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  10. Lex Newman (2011). Sensory Doubts and the Directness of Perception in the Meditations1. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 35 (1):205-222.
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  11. Lex Newman (2009). Ideas, Pictures, and the Directness of Perception in Descartes and Locke. Philosophy Compass 4 (1):134-154.
    How are we to understand philosophical claims about sense perception being direct versus indirect? There are multiple relevant notions of perceptual directness, so I argue. Perception of external objects may be direct on some notions, while indirect on others. My interest is with the sense in which ideas count as perceptual mediators in the philosophy of Descartes and Locke. This paper has two broader aims. The first is to clarify four main notions of perceptual directness. The second is to support (...)
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  12. Lex Newman, Descartes' Epistemology. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    René Descartes (1596-1650) is widely regarded as the father of modern philosophy. His noteworthy contributions extend to mathematics and physics. This entry focuses on his philosophical contributions in the theory of knowledge. Specifically, the focus is on the epistemological project of Descartes' famous work, Meditations on First Philosophy.
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  13. Lex Newman (2007). Locke on Knowledge. In , The Cambridge Companion to Locke's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding". Cambridge University Press.
    The primary aim of this essay is to explain the central elements of Locke's theory of knowledge. A secondary aim arises from the official definition of knowledge introduced in the opening lines of book IV. Though Locke's repeated statements of the definition are consistent with the initial formulation, the consensus view among commentators is that that official definition is in tension with other book IV doctrines. My broader interpretation involves an effort to render the various doctrines consistent with the official (...)
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  14. Lex Newman (ed.) (2007). The Cambridge Companion to Locke's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding". Cambridge University Press.
    First published in 1689, John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding is widely recognised as among the greatest works in the history of Western philosophy. The Essay puts forward a systematic empiricist theory of mind, detailing how all ideas and knowledge arise from sense experience. Locke was trained in mechanical philosophy and he crafted his account to be consistent with the best natural science of his day. The Essay was highly influential and its rendering of empiricism would become the standard for (...)
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  15. Lex Newman (2004). Locke on Sensitive Knowledge and the Veil of Perception – Four Misconceptions. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 85 (3):273–300.
    Interpreters of Locke’s Essay are divided over whether to attribute to him a Representational Theory of Perception (RTP). Those who object to an RTP interpretation cite (among other things) Locke’s Book IV account of sensitive knowledge, contending that the account is incompatible with RTP. The aim of this paper is to rebut this kind of objection – to defend an RTP reading of the relevant Book IV passages. Specifically, I address four influential assumptions (about sensitive knowledge) cited by opponents of (...)
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  16. Lex Newman (2004). Rocking the Foundations of Cartesian Knowledge: Critical Notice of Janet Broughton, "Descartes's Method of Doubt". Philosophical Review 113 (1):101-125.
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  17. Lex Newman (2002). Berkeley's Thought. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 111 (2):314-318.
  18. Lex Newman (2001). Cartesian Truth. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (3):735-738.
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  19. Lex Newman (2001). Unmasking Descartes's Case for the Bête Machine Doctrine. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (3):389-425.
    Among the more notorious of Cartesian doctrines is the bête machine doctrine – the view that brute animals lack not only reason, but any form of consciousness (having no mind or soul). Recent English commentaries have served to obscure, rather than to clarify, the historical Descartes' views. Standard interpretations have it that insofar as Descartes intends to establish the bête machine doctrine his arguments are palpably flawed. One camp of interpreters thus disputes that he even holds the doctrine. As I (...)
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  20. Lex Newman (2000). Locke on the Idea of Substratum. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 81 (3):291–324.
    it, the idea of "substance-in-general". It is clear he accords a central role to collections of simple..
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  21. Lex Newman (1999). The Fourth Meditation. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (3):559-591.
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  22. Lex Newman & Alan Nelson (1999). Circumventing Cartesian Circles. Noûs 33 (3):370-404.
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  23. Lex Newman (1994). Descartes on Unknown Faculties and Our Knowledge of the External World. Philosophical Review 103 (3):489-531.
    How are we to understand philosophical claims about sense perception being direct versus indirect? There are multiple relevant notions of perceptual directness, so I argue. Perception of external objects may be direct on some notions, while indirect on others. My interest is with the sense in which ideas count as perceptual mediators in the philosophy of Descartes and Locke. This paper has two broader aims. The first is to clarify four main notions of perceptual directness. The second is to support (...)
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