Objective Being and “Ofness” in Descartes


Authors
Lionel Shapiro
University of Connecticut
Abstract
It is generally assumed that Descartes invokes “objective being in the intellect” in order to explain or describe an idea’s status as being “of something.” I argue that this assumption is mistaken. As emerges in his discussion of “materially false ideas” in the Fourth Replies, Descartes recognizes two senses of ‘idea of’. One, a theoretical sense, is itself introduced in terms of objective being. Hence Descartes can’t be introducing objective being to explain or describe “ofness” understood in this sense. Descartes also appeals to a pretheoretical sense of ‘idea of’. I will argue that the notion of objective being can’t serve to explain or describe this “ofness” either. I conclude by proposing an alternative explanation of the role of objective being, according to which Descartes introduces this notion to explain the mind’s ability to attain clear and distinct ideas.
Keywords Descartes  intentionality  objective being  material falsity  clear and distinct ideas  ideas  Arnauld
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ISBN(s) 0031-8205
DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2010.00475.x
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References found in this work BETA

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.John Locke - 1689 - Oxford University Press.
Foundations of Mind.Tyler Burge - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda.Stephen Yablo - 2002 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 441-492.
Descartes's Concept of Mind.Lilli Alanen - 2003 - Harvard University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Intentionality: Some Lessons From the History of the Problem From Brentano to the Present.Dermot Moran - 2013 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 21 (3):317-358.
Interventionist Causal Exclusion and Non‐Reductive Physicalism.Michael Baumgartner - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (2):161-178.
Two Kinds of Intentionality in Locke.Lionel Shapiro - 2010 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (4):554-586.

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