History of Philosophy Quarterly 22 (1):17 - 30 (2005)

Katalin Farkas
Central European University
Abstract: On several occasions (see e.g. Principles I/48) Descartes claims that sensations, emotions, imagination and sensory perceptions belong neither to the mind or to the body alone, but rather to their union. This seems to conflict with Descartes’s definition of “thought” given elsewhere, which classifies the same events as modes of a thinking substance, and hence depending for their existence only on minds. In this paper I offer an interpretation, which, I hope, will restore the coherence of Descartes’s dualist theory. I argue that the ‘special modes’ of thinking are special because they are the immediate effects of the body on the mind. They thus depend for their existence on the body because of the general metaphysical principle that “Nothing comes from nothing”. Understood properly, this principle does not contradict the principle about the distinctness of substances.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
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

Cartesian Trialism.John Cottingham - 1985 - Mind 94 (374):218-230.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Stressing the Flesh: In Defense of Strong Embodied Cognition.Liam P. Dempsey & Itay Shani - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (3):590-617.
The Freedom of Thought: Patočka on Descartes and Husserl.Anita Williams - 2018 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 50 (1):37-49.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Descartes' Argument for Mind-Body Dualism.Douglas C. Long - 1969 - Philosophical Forum 1 (3):259-273.
Substance, Reality, and Distinctness.Boris Hennig - 2008 - Prolegomena 7 (1):2008.
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 and Malebranche on Thought, Sensation and the Nature of the Mind.Antonia Lolordo - 2005 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 43 (4):387-402.
A Note on Descartes and Spinoza.Jonathan Bennett - 1965 - Philosophical Review 74 (3):379-380.
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.
The Unity of Descartes's Man.Paul Hoffman - 1986 - Philosophical Review 95 (3):339-370.
Descartes, Mind-Body Union, and Holenmerism.Marleen Rozemond - 2003 - Philosophical Topics 31 (1/2):343-367.
Descartes on Composites, Incomplete Substances, and Kinds of Unity.Dan Kaufman - 2008 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 90 (1):39-73.


Added to PP index

Total views
128 ( #92,630 of 2,520,806 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
11 ( #66,706 of 2,520,806 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes