Descartes’ Problematic Causal Principle of Ideas

There is a virtual consensus among commentators on Descartes that the causal principle by which he relates the objective reality of his ideas to the formal reality of their causes isindefensible. In particular, Descartes’ claim that this principle follows from the general principle which states that the cause must contain at least as much reality as the effect has been examined and rejected as logically implausible. I challenge this view by showing that there is a logically plausible derivation of the causal principle of ideas from the general causal principle. This result has important implications due to the crucial role the causal principle of ideas plays in Descartes’ first a posteriori argument for the existence of God.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI jpr_1993_23
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 34,484
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

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Descartes' Problematic Causal Principle of Ideas.Frederick J. O'Toole - 1993 - Journal of Philosophical Research 18:167-191.
Is More Objective Reality Really Something More?Anthony Dardis - 2002 - Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy 5.
Descartes on the Objective Reality of Materially False Ideas.Dan Kaufman - 2000 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 81 (4):385–408.
Proofs for the Existence of God.Lawrence Nolan & Alan Nelson - 2006 - In Stephen Gaukroger (ed.), The Blackwell to Descartes’ Meditations. Blackwell. pp. 104--121.
The Cosmological Argument and the Causal Principle.Bruce R. Reichenbach - 1975 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 6 (3):185 - 190.
Descartes on the Power of "Ideas".Stephen I. Wagner - 1996 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 13 (3):287 - 297.
From States of Affairs to a Necessary Being.Joshua Rasmussen - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148 (2):183 - 200.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
1 ( #1,036,137 of 2,268,045 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #373,178 of 2,268,045 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes

Sign in to use this feature