The aim of this paper is to contribute to a more balanced judgement than the widespread impression that the changes which are called for in today's philosophy of physics and which centre around the concept of holism amount to a rupture with the framework of Cartesian philosophy of physics. I argue that this framework includes a sort of holism: As a result of the identification of matter with space, any physical property can be instantiated only if there is the whole (...) of matter. Relating this holism to general relativity, I maintain that this holism cannot be directly applied to today's philosophy of physics consequent upon the failure of geometrodynamics. I show in what respect precisely the holism in quantum physics amounts to a revision of the holism within Cartesianism. (shrink)
on points that remain especially crucial, i.e., the concept of the natural attitude, the ways into the reduction (and their systematics), and ﬁnally the question of the “meaning of the reduction.” Indeed, in the reading attempted here, this ﬁnal question leads to two, not necessarily related, focal points: a Cartesian and a Life-world tendency. It is my claim that in following these two paths, Husserl was consistent in pursuing two evident leads in his philosophical enterprise; however, he was at the (...) same time unable to systematically unify these two strands. Thus, I am oﬀering an interpretation which might be called a modiﬁed “departure from Cartesianism” reading that Landgrebe pro-. (shrink)
This paper concerns the dialectal role of Frege Cases in the debate between Concept Cartesians and Concept Pragmatists. I take as a starting point Christopher Peacocke’s argument that, unlike Cartesianism, his ‘Fregean’ Pragmatism can account for facts about the rationality and epistemic status of certain judgments. I argue that since this argument presupposes that the rationality of thoughts turn on their content, it is thus question-begging against Cartesians, who claim that issues about rationality turn on the form, not the (...) content, of thoughts. I then consider Jerry Fodor’s argument that ‘modes of presentation’ are not identical with Fregean senses, and argue that explanatory considerations should leads us to reject his ‘syntactic’ treatment of Frege cases. Rejecting the Cartesian treatment of Frege cases, however, is not tantamount to accepting Peacocke’s claim that reasons and rationality are central to the individuation of concepts. For I argue that we can steer a middle course between Fodor’s Cartesianism and Peacocke’s Pragmatism, and adopt a form of Pragmatism that is constrained by Fregean considerations, but at the same time denies that concepts are constitutively tied to reasons and rationality. (shrink)
This essay critically engages Dreyfus's widely read interpretation of Heidegger's Being and Time . It argues that Dreyfus's reading is rooted in two primary claims or interpretative principles. The first - the Cartesianism thesis - indicates that Heidegger's objective in Being and Time is to overturn Cartesianism. The second - the hermeneutics of suspicion thesis - claims that Division II is supposed to suspect and throw into question the results of the Division I analysis. These theses contribute to (...) the view that there are two conflicting accounts of inauthenticity that threaten the coherence of Heidegger's notion of authenticity. This view concerning authenticity is mistaken, as are the two theses that support it. The first thesis is incorrect because Heidegger's explicit aim is to investigate the question of the meaning of being not to overturn Cartesianism. The second is incorrect because the analyses of Division I describe the structures of everyday human existence in preparation for a closer examination in Division II of what makes them possible. Division II does not undercut Division I; it carries the analysis deeper. Authenticity, then, is not a negation of everydayness; it is a deepening of the self-understanding expressed in everydayness. (shrink)
‘Kant’s Anti-Cartesianism’. Dialogue 46.4 (2007):709–715. (Preçis of K. R. Westphal, Kant’s Transcendental Proof of Realism; Cambridge, 2004.) -/- > ‘Proving Realism Transcendentally: Replies to Rolf George and William Harper’. Dialogue 46.4 (2007):737–750. (Concluding replies in this symposium on *Kant’s Transcendental Proof of Realism*.).
This is the first book-length study of two of Descartes's most innovative successors, Robert Desgabets and Pierre-Sylvain Regis, and of their highly original contributions to Cartesianism. The focus of the book is an analysis of radical doctrines in the work of these thinkers that derive from arguments in Descartes: on the creation of eternal truths, on the intentionality of ideas, and on the soul-body union. As well as relating their work to that of fellow Cartesians such as Malebranche and (...) Arnauld, the book also establishes the important though neglected role played by Desgabets and Regis in the theologically and politically charged reception of Descartes in early-modern France. This is a major contribution to the history of Cartesianism that will be of special interest to historians of early-modern philosophy and historians of ideas. (shrink)
In the second half of the seventeenth century, philosophy teaching in the Scottish universities gradually moved from scholasticism to Cartesianism. Robert Forbes, regent at Marischal College and King's College, Aberdeen, was a strenuous opponent of Descartes. The analysis of the philosophy of Forbes and of his teacher Patrick Gordon sheds light on the relationship between Scottish Reformed scholasticism and the reception of Descartes in Scotland.
Contrary to what appears to be popular belief, Port-Royal was not a bastion of cartesianism. In fact, Of all the port-Royalists of the seventeenth century, Only arnauld can be considered a cartesian in any interesting sense. Most of the others associated with the order were hostile to the new philosophy and actively campaigned against it, Believing it to pose a threat to piety and "true" religion. This can be seen by examining the writings of de sacy, Du vaucel, And (...) nicole, And the various philosophical and theological objections they raise against descartes's philosophy. (shrink)
Contemporary quasi-Cartesianism about mental phenomena is the view of the perspectival nature of consciousness and the inscrutability of phenomenal experience, both being first-person-centered. It adverts to the insusceptibility of mental phenomena to third-person-centered, scientific description and explanation, but does not sympathize with the ontology of substance dualism. This view finds its clearest manifestation in contemporary agnostic naturalism.
CONTRARY TO WHAT APPEARS TO BE POPULAR BELIEF, PORT-ROYAL WAS NOT A BASTION OF CARTESIANISM. IN FACT, OF ALL THE PORT-ROYALISTS OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY, ONLY ARNAULD CAN BE CONSIDERED A CARTESIAN IN ANY INTERESTING SENSE. MOST OF THE OTHERS ASSOCIATED WITH THE ORDER WERE HOSTILE TO THE NEW PHILOSOPHY AND ACTIVELY CAMPAIGNED AGAINST IT, BELIEVING IT TO POSE A THREAT TO PIETY AND "TRUE" RELIGION. THIS CAN BE SEEN BY EXAMINING THE WRITINGS OF DE SACY, DU VAUCEL, AND (...) NICOLE, AND THE VARIOUS PHILOSOPHICAL AND THEOLOGICAL OBJECTIONS THEY RAISE AGAINST DESCARTES'S PHILOSOPHY. (shrink)
Abstract: Heidegger's Sein und Zeit (SZ) is commonly viewed as one of the 20th century's great anti-Cartesian works, usually because of its attack on the epistemology-driven dualism and mentalism of modern philosophy of mind or its apparent effort to ‘de-center the subject’ in order to privilege being or sociality over the individual. Most who stress one or other of these anti-Cartesian aspects of SZ, however, pay little attention to Heidegger's own direct engagement with Descartes, apart from the compressed discussion in (...) SZ§§19–21. I here show through a careful reading of Heidegger's lectures on Descartes from the years immediately preceding SZ that, while he has sharp criticisms of Descartes and certain ‘Cartesian’ aspects of modern philosophy along the lines commonly recognized, he also aims to disclose what he calls the ‘positive possibilities’ in Descartes and the philosophy he inspired. I detail a number of these and then show that they force us to see Heidegger's own early project as largely unconcerned with dualism and mentalism per se, and much more with questions of the philosophical methodology that gives rise to them. Moreover, I show that a careful reading of Heidegger's treatment of the cogito makes clear that he is no serious way attempting to ‘de-center the subject’ and that the fundamental question of the ‘analytic of Dasein’ is one that takes Descartes as an immediate jumping off point: how can I articulate what I understand myself to be as the general kind of entity I am, and on what besides me does my being depend? (shrink)
The principal temptation toward substance dualisms, or otherwise incorporating a question begging homunculus into our psychologies, arises not from the problem of consciousness in general, nor from the problem of intentionality, but from the question of our awareness and understanding of our own mental contents, and the control of the deliberate, conscious thinking in which we employ them. Dennett has called this "Hume's problem". Cognitivist philosophers have generally either denied the experiential reality of thought, as did the Behaviorists, or have (...) taken an implicitly epiphenomenalist stance, a form of dualism. Some sort of mental duality may indeed be required to meet this problem, but not one that is metaphysical or question begging. I argue that it can be solved in the light of Paivio's "Dual Coding" theory of mental representation. This theory, which is strikingly simple and intuitive (perhaps too much so to have caught the imagination of philosophers) has demonstrated impressive empirical power and scope. It posits two distinct systems of potentially conscious representations in the human mind: mental imagery and verbal representation (which is not to be confused with 'propositional' or "mentalese" representation). I defend, on conceptual grounds, Paivio's assertion of precisely two codes against interpretations which would either multiply image codes to match sense modes, or collapse the two, admittedly interacting, systems into one. On this basis I argue that the inference that a conscious agent would be needed to read such mental representations and to manipulate them in the light of their contents can be pre-empted by an account of how the two systems interact, each registering, affecting and being affected by developing associative processes within the other. (shrink)
Since the publication of the Philosophical Investigations in 1953, Wittgenstein''s later philosophy of mind has been the subject of numerous books and articles. Although most commentators agree that Wittgenstein was neither a behaviorist nor a Cartesian dualist, many continue to ascribe to him a position that strongly resembles one of the alternatives. In contrast, this paper argues that Wittgenstein was strongly opposed to behaviorism and Cartesianism, and that he was concerned to show that these positions implicitly share a problematic (...) assumption. This assumption is a seemingly innocent idea that subjectivity, or mind, is some kind of object or thing. The paper provides a detailed survey of Wittgenstein''s critique of Cartesianism and behaviorism, as well as an outline of Wittgenstein''s alternative account of subjectivity. (shrink)
The existence and extent of animal suffering provides grounds for a serious evidential challenge to theism. In the wake of the Darwinian revolution, this strain of natural atheology has taken on substantially greater significance. In this essay we argue that there are at least four neo-Cartesian views on the nature of animal minds which would serve to deflect this evidential challenge.
Transpersonal psychology first emerged as an academic discipline in the 1960s and has subsequently broadened into a range of transpersonal studies. Jorge Ferrer (2002) has called for a 'revisioning' of transpersonal theory, dethroning inner experience from its dominant role in defining and validating spiritual reality. In the current paradigm he detects a lingering Cartesianism, which subtly entrenches the very subject-object divide that transpersonalists seek to overcome. This paper outlines the development and current shape of the transpersonal movement, compares Ferrer's (...) epistemology with the heterophenomenology of Daniel Dennett, and speculates on the integration of the latter into transpersonal theory. (shrink)
We consider the symbol grounding problem, and apply to it philosophical arguments against Cartesianism developed by Sellars and McDowell: the problematic issue is the dichotomy between inside and outside which the definition of a physical symbol system presupposes. Surprisingly, one can question this dichotomy and still do symbolic computation: a detailed examination of the hardware and software of serial ports shows this.
Postphenomenology, in a complementary role with other science studies disciplines, remains within the trajectory of those theories which reject early modern epistemology and metaphysics, including rejection of ‘subject’–‘object’ distinctions, and holds, instead, to an inter-relational, co-constitutive ontology. Here the critiques which sometimes echo vestiges of such early modern epistemology are counter-challenged.
The Modularity of Mind proposes an alternative to the or view of cognitive architecture that has dominated several decades of cognitive science. Whereas interactionism stresses the continuity of perceptual and cognitive processes, modularity theory argues for their distinctness. It is argued, in particular, that the apparent plausibility of New Look theorizing derives from the failure to distinguish between the (correct) claim that perceptual processes are inferential and the (dubious) claim that they are unencapsidated, that is, that they are arbitrarily sensitive (...) to the organism's beliefs and desires. In fact, according to modularity theory, perceptual processes are computationally isolated from much of the background knowledge to which cognitive processes have access. The postulation of autonomous, domain-specific psychological mechanisms underlying perceptual integration connects modularity theory with the tradition of faculty psychology, in particular, with the work of Franz Joseph Call. Some of these historical affinities, and some of the relations between faculty psychology and Cartesianism, are discussed in the book. (shrink)