Download The Light of the Soul: Theories of Ideas in Leibniz, by Nicholas Jolley PDF

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By Nicholas Jolley

The concept that of an "idea" performed a primary function in 17th-century theories of brain and information, yet philosophers have been divided over the character of rules. This e-book examines a tremendous, yet little-known, debate in this query within the paintings of Leibniz, Malebranche, and Descartes. having a look heavily on the matters concerned, in addition to the actual context during which the talk happened, Jolley demonstrates that the talk has severe implications for a couple of significant subject matters in 17th-century philosophy.

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Additional resources for The Light of the Soul: Theories of Ideas in Leibniz, Malebranche, and Descartes

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68 The scholastic intellect is thus ultimately dependent for its concepts on the physical world. The Cartesian intellect, by contrast, needs no source outside itself; in this respect it resembles the divine intellect. There is thus good reason why Descartes should speak of the intellectual acts of the mind as ideas. There is also a sense, I believe, in which Descartes's theory of sense-perception makes the mind more godlike than it is on the scholastic conception. This may seem a surprising claim.

Now, Descartes denies the Aristotelian view that in perception something literally comes into the mind from outside. Thus his remark to Hyperaspistes, taken in conjunction with his anti-Aristotelian view of perception, clearly implies that there are no adventitious ideas. The strong Aristotelian requirement for causality, however, is not the basis of Descartes's argument in the Comments on a Certain Broadsheet. Here Descartes seems to take it for granted that, on the ‘contagion’ view of causality, no sensory ideas are caused by external physical objects.

37; CSM ii. 25. g. ‘Sixth Meditation’, AT vii. 81; CSM ii. 56. 53 R. Rorty, pp. 22–3. 24 DESCARTES: THE THEORY OF IDEAS We may wonder whether Descartes is well placed to defend the claim that sensations are confused representations of physical states. Descartes holds that the correlations between brain events and qualia are purely arbitrary;54 thus, there is nothing about a toothache or a sensation of redness which would allow us even in principle to ‘read off ’ the corresponding states of our body or of surrounding bodies which are causally affecting our own.

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