Descartes on the Innateness of All Ideas

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 32 (3):355 - 388 (2002)
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Though Descartes is traditionally associated with the moderately nativist doctrine that our ideas of God, of eternal truths, and of true and immutable natures are innate, on two occasions he explicitly argued that all of our ideas, even sensory ideas, are innate in the mind. One reason it is surprising to find Descartes endorsing universal innateness is that such a view seems to leave no role for bodies in the production of our ideas of them.



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Geoffrey Gorham
Macalester College

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