Descartes says that the Meditations contains the foundations of his physics. But how does the work advance his geometrical view of the corporeal world? His argument for this view of matter is often taken to be concluded with the proof of the existence of bodies in the Sixth Meditation. This paper focuses on the work that follows the proof, where Descartes pursues the question of what we should think about qualities such as light, sound and pain, as well as the (...) size and shape of particular bodies. His inquiry makes crucial use of the notion of a teaching of nature originating from God, as contrasted with an apparent teaching of nature originating from habit. I attempt to reconstruct Descartes's use of these notions in order to clarify the way in which he makes space for his geometrical conception of the corporeal world. (shrink)
In Altered Sensations: Rudolph Koenig’s Acoustical Workshop in Nineteenth-Century Paris, David Pantalony achieves the difficult goal of balancing technical detail and historical narrative in his account of Rudolph Koenig and the nineteenth-century Parisian scientific instrument trade. The Parisian instrument making trade, particularly that of acoustical instruments, was at a high point in the mid-nineteenth century. Chief among scientific instrument makers was Rudolph Koenig (1832-1901), whose atelier at 30 Hautefeuille was at once an artisanal studio, a laboratory, a workshop and a (...) showroom. The negotiations necessary for one building, and one person, to channel such different activities is one of the main themes of Pantalony’s book. Pantalony shows that Koenig’s atelier was central to disputes surrounding the creation of the “modern soundscape” (p. 170). Debates regarding analytic versus holistic conceptions of sound, “objective” visual versus “subjective” by-ear modes of perception and measurement, and experimental versus theoretical results are all prominent in the text, and all framed by the different, but not disparate, functions of Koenig’s atelier; the building acts as a multi-faceted lens through which Pantalony considers Koenig and his instruments in their artistic, intellectual, commercial and social contexts. (shrink)
This collection of new essays put the debates on the mind-body problem into historical context. The discussions range from Aristotle, Aquinas and Descartes to the origins of the qualia and intentionality.
According to Davidson, his Principle of the Anomalism of the Mental, which states that there are no strict laws on the basis of which mental events can be predicted or explained, supports the claim that psychology is anomalous among the sciences. The paper argues that this latter claim is based on a conception of psychological explanation as the subsumption of behavioral events under laws, and presents an alternative conception of psychological explanation as the analysis of cognitive capacities.
This paper takes issue with Tyler Burge's claim that intentional states are nonindividualistically individuated in cognitive psychology. A discussion of current models of children's acquisition of semantic knowledge is used to motivate a thought-experiment which shows that psychologists working in this area are not committed to describing the concepts children attach to words in terms of the concepts standardly attached to those words in the child's community. The content of the child's representational states are thus not individuated with reference to (...) linguistic environment in the manner that Burge's nonindividualistic view requires. The paper concludes that the explanatory states of cognitive psychology are sometimes individualistically individuated. (shrink)