Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 51 (5):464 – 484 (2008)
This paper reflects on the status of Descartes' notion of the mind-body union as an object of knowledge in the framework of his new philosophy of nature, and argues that it should be taken seriously as representing a third kind of real thing or reality—that of human nature. Because it does not meet the criteria of distinctness that the two natures composing it—those of thinking minds and extended bodies— meet, the phenomena referred to it, which are objects of psychology as traditionally understood, fall outside the scope of clear and distinct perception required for knowledge. The prospects for rationalist psychology are bleak, since because of the mind-body union so little of the contents of the human mind are accessible to rational inspection or introspection. Mechanistic natural philosophy on the other hand gives us knowledge only of the physiological and corporeal aspects of the phenomena Descartes classifies as mental. What pertains to the mind-body union can only be known through the senses, moreover, we learn to conceive the mind-body union only through daily experience (“usant seulement de la vie et des conversations ordinaries”, AT 3, 695). I discuss the nature of this experience, and the sense in which Cartesian psychology without being part of his philosophy of nature in the strict sense of the term, can still be seen as a naturalist undertaking in a more traditional sense of nature where life, sentience, reasoning and rational action are all seen as natural phenomena.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
The Epistemic Status of Medicine in Descartes.Gary Steiner - 2011 - International Philosophical Quarterly 51 (1):55-72.
The Unity of Descartes's Thought.Katalin Farkas - 2005 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 22 (1):17 - 30.
The Faces of Simplicity in Descartes’s Soul.Marleen Rozemond - 2014 - In Dominik Perler & Klaus Corcilius (eds.), Partitioning the Soul: Debates From Plato to Leibniz. De Gruyter. pp. 219-244.
A Hylomorphic Interpretation of Descartes's Theory of Mind-Body Union.Justin Skirry - 2001 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 75:267-283.
Descartes Passions of the Soul and the Union of Mind and Body.Lisa Shapiro - 2003 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 85 (3):211-248.
Descartes on Composites, Incomplete Substances, and Kinds of Unity.Dan Kaufman - 2008 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 90 (1):39-73.
Descartes, Mind-Body Union, and Holenmerism.Marleen Rozemond - 2003 - Philosophical Topics 31 (1/2):343-367.
Reconsidering Descartes's Notion of the Mind-Body Union.Lilli Alanen - 1996 - Synthese 106 (1):3 - 20.
Added to index2009-02-04
Total downloads133 ( #36,126 of 2,172,801 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #172,512 of 2,172,801 )
How can I increase my downloads?