Ratio 15 (1):01–09 (2002)

It is still commonly supposed that Descartes based his argument for the mind-body distinction on the law of the indiscernibility of identicals. I argue that this interpretation is very unlikely to be correct. I explain three contemporary versions of this interpreta- tion and say why I reject it. Basically, use of this law for Descartes’s conclusion would require reference to human bodies or else the supposition, for the purpose of the argument, of reference to human bodies. But at the time Descartes formulated his argument, he would not have allowed either. Instead, I amend a different interpretation which others have found, and briefly defend it against one famous objection
Keywords Descartes   History of Philosophy   Mind   Physicalism   Dualism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/1467-9329.00172
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,307
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Eleatic Descartes.Thomas Lennon - 2007 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (1):29-45.
Leibniz’s Opinion Of Descartes’s Argument That He Is Not A Body.James Patrick Downey - 2003 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 11 (3):493 – 498.
Commentary on “The Possibility of God”.James Patrick Downey - 1987 - Faith and Philosophy 4 (2):202-206.
Descartes’s First Meditation: A Phenomenological Analysis.Avery Fouts - 2004 - International Philosophical Quarterly 44 (2):223-238.
Argument and Persuasion in Descartes' Meditations.Tom Vinci - 2011 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 49 (4):497-498.


Added to PP index

Total views
36 ( #316,206 of 2,507,849 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,715 of 2,507,849 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes