Book synopis: A collection of more than 30 specially commissioned essays, this volume surveys the work of the 17th-century philosopher-scientist commonly regarded as the founder of modern philosophy, while integrating unique essays detailing the context and impact of his work. Covers the full range of historical and philosophical perspectives on the work of Descartes Discusses his seminal contributions to our understanding of skepticism, mind-body dualism, self-knowledge, innate ideas, substance, causality, God, and the nature of animals Explores the philosophical significance of (...) his contributions to mathematics and science Concludes with a section on the impact of Descartes's work on subsequent philosophers. (shrink)
Descartes first invokes the errors of the senses in the Meditations to generate doubt; he suggests that because the senses sometimes deceive, we have reason not to trust them. This use of sensory error to fuel a sceptical argument fits a traditional interpretation of the Meditations as a work concerned with finding a form of certainty that is proof against any sceptical doubt. If we focus instead on Descartes's aim of using the Meditations to lay foundations for his new science, (...) his appeals to sensory error take on a different aspect. Descartes's new science is based on ideas innate in the intellect, ideas that are validated by the benevolence of our creator. Appeals to sensory error are useful to him in undermining our naïve faith in the senses and guiding us to an appreciation of innate ideas. However, the errors of the senses pose problems in the context of Descartes's appeals to God's goodness to validate innate ideas and natural propensities to belief. A natural tendency to sensory error is hard to reconcile with the benevolence of our creator. This paper explores Descartes's responses to the problems of theodicy posed by various forms of sensory error. It argues that natural judgements involved in our visual perception of distance, size and shape pose a problem of error that resists his usual solutions. (shrink)
This paper takes issue with Tyler Burge's claim that intentional states are nonindividualistically individuated in cognitive psychology. A discussion of current models of children's acquisition of semantic knowledge is used to motivate a thought-experiment which shows that psychologists working in this area are not committed to describing the concepts children attach to words in terms of the concepts standardly attached to those words in the child's community. The content of the child's representational states are thus not individuated with reference to (...) linguistic environment in the manner that Burge's nonindividualistic view requires. The paper concludes that the explanatory states of cognitive psychology are sometimes individualistically individuated. (shrink)
Descartes says that the Meditations contains the foundations of his physics. But how does the work advance his geometrical view of the corporeal world? His argument for this view of matter is often taken to be concluded with the proof of the existence of bodies in the Sixth Meditation. This paper focuses on the work that follows the proof, where Descartes pursues the question of what we should think about qualities such as light, sound and pain, as well as the (...) size and shape of particular bodies. His inquiry makes crucial use of the notion of a teaching of nature originating from God, as contrasted with an apparent teaching of nature originating from habit. I attempt to reconstruct Descartes's use of these notions in order to clarify the way in which he makes space for his geometrical conception of the corporeal world. (shrink)
Descartes is well known for his employment of the method of doubt. His most famous work, the Meditations, begins by exhorting us to doubt all our opinions, including our belief in the existence of the external world. But critics have charged that this universal doubt is impossible for us to achieve because it runs counter to human nature. If this is so, Descartes must be either misguided or hypocritical in proposing it. Hume writes:There is a species of scepticism, antecedent to (...) all study and philosophy, which is much inculcated by Des Cartes and others, as a sovereign preservative against error and precipitate judgement. It recommends an universal doubt, not only of all our former opinions and principles, but also of our very faculties… The Cartesian doubt, …were it ever possible to be attained by any human creature would be entirely incurable; and no reasoning could ever bring us to a state of assurance and conviction upon any subject. (shrink)
This study asks how men’s and women’s careers diverge following MBA graduation from an elite university, using qualitative interview data from 74 respondents. We discover men and women follow three career pathways post-graduation: lockstep, transitory, and exit. While similar proportions of men and women followed the lockstep pathways and launched accelerated careers, sizable gender differences emerged on the transitory pathway; men’s careers soared as women’s faltered on this path—the modal category for both. On the transitory path, men fared much better (...) than women when moving to new organizations, suggesting that gender may become more salient when people have a shorter work history with a company. Our findings suggest that clear building blocks to promotions reduce gender bias and ambiguity in the promotion process, but multiple external moves hamper women, putting them at a clear disadvantage to men whose forward progress is less likely to be stalled by such moves. (shrink)
Book synopsis: History of the Mind-Body Problem is a collection of new essays by leading contributors on the various concerns that have given rise to and informed the mind-body problem in philosophy. The essays in this stellar collection discuss famous philosophers such as Aristotle, Aquinas and Descartes and cover the subjects of the origins of the qualia and intentionality.
In Altered Sensations: Rudolph Koenig’s Acoustical Workshop in Nineteenth-Century Paris, David Pantalony achieves the difficult goal of balancing technical detail and historical narrative in his account of Rudolph Koenig and the nineteenth-century Parisian scientific instrument trade. The Parisian instrument making trade, particularly that of acoustical instruments, was at a high point in the mid-nineteenth century. Chief among scientific instrument makers was Rudolph Koenig (1832-1901), whose atelier at 30 Hautefeuille was at once an artisanal studio, a laboratory, a workshop and a (...) showroom. The negotiations necessary for one building, and one person, to channel such different activities is one of the main themes of Pantalony’s book. Pantalony shows that Koenig’s atelier was central to disputes surrounding the creation of the “modern soundscape” (p. 170). Debates regarding analytic versus holistic conceptions of sound, “objective” visual versus “subjective” by-ear modes of perception and measurement, and experimental versus theoretical results are all prominent in the text, and all framed by the different, but not disparate, functions of Koenig’s atelier; the building acts as a multi-faceted lens through which Pantalony considers Koenig and his instruments in their artistic, intellectual, commercial and social contexts. (shrink)
According to Davidson, his Principle of the Anomalism of the Mental, which states that there are no strict laws on the basis of which mental events can be predicted or explained, supports the claim that psychology is anomalous among the sciences. The paper argues that this latter claim is based on a conception of psychological explanation as the subsumption of behavioral events under laws, and presents an alternative conception of psychological explanation as the analysis of cognitive capacities.