Reid on instinctive exertions and the spatial content of sensations

In Todd Buras & Rebecca Copenhaver (eds.), Thomas Reid on Mind, Knowledge and Value. Oxford University Press. pp. 35-51 (2015)

Authors
Chris Lindsay
University of Glasgow
Abstract
In his last great philosophical essay, 'Of Power', Reid makes the plausible claim that 'our first exertions are instinctive' and made 'without any distinct conception of the event that is to follow'. According to Reid, these instinctive exertions allow us to form beliefs about correlations between exertions and consequential events. Such instinctive exertions also explain the origin of our conception of power. In this paper, I argue that we can use the notion of instinctive exertions to address several objections that have been raised concerning Reid's rejection of the claim that sensations possess spatial content.
Keywords Thomas Reid  Spatial awareness  Sensation  Instinctive exertion
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