Authors
Evan Thomas
Ohio State University
Abstract
The Cartesian view that animals are automata sparked a major controversy in early modern European philosophy. This paper studies an early contribution to this controversy. I provide an interpretation of an influential objection to Cartesian animal automatism raised by Ignace-Gaston Pardies (1636–1673). Pardies objects that the Cartesian arguments show only that animals lack ‘intellectual perception’ but do not show that animals lack ‘sensible perception.’ According to Pardies, the difference between these two types of perception is that the former is reflexive such that we both perceive an object and the perception itself, whereas sensible perception lacks this reflexivity. This notion of sensible perception was criticized by the Cartesian Antoine Dilly for violating the doctrine that all thought is conscious. However, I argue that sensible perceptions are not unconscious for Pardies. Rather, they are conscious perceptions that are unaccompanied by a kind of reflexive perception that is constitutive of attention. Moreover, I argue that when understood in this way Pardies raises a compelling objection to Cartesian animal automatists.
Keywords Cartesianism   Descartes   Dilly   Pardies   automatism   consciousness   introspection   minds  Cartesianism  Descartes
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Reprint years 2020
DOI 10.32881/jomp.60
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References found in this work BETA

Conscious Experience.Fred Dretske - 1993 - Mind 102 (406):263-283.
The Nature of Attention.Sebastian Watzl - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (11):842-853.
Direct Realism, Intentionality, and the Objective Being of Ideas.Paul Hoffman - 2002 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 83 (2):163-179.
The Passions of the Soul and Descartes’s Machine Psychology.Gary Hatfield - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 38 (1):1-35.

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Citations of this work BETA

Descartes on the Animal Within, and the Animals Without.Evan Thomas - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (8):999-1014.

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