Descartes and the Doubting Mind
Descartes' characterisation of the mind as a ‘thinking thing' marks the beginning of modern philosophy of mind. It is also the point of departure for Descartes' own system in which the mind is the first object of knowledge for those who reason in an ‘orderly way'.
This ground-breaking book shows that the Cartesian mind has been widely misunderstood: typically treated as simply the subject of phenomenal consciousness, ignoring its deeply intellectual character. James Hill argues that this interpretation has gone hand in hand with a misreading of Descartes' method of doubt which treats it as all-inclusive and universal in scope. In fact, the sceptical arguments of the First Meditation aim to lead the mind away from the senses and towards the intellectual ‘notions' that the mind has within it, and which are never the subject of doubt. Hill also places Descartes' concept of mind into the wider setting of his science of nature, showing how he wished to reveal a mental subject that would able to comprehend the new physics necessitated by Copernicus' heliocentrism.
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anima argues argument from origin Aristotelian Aristotle aware beginning beliefs bodily body Cartesian causal Chapter cogito common notions concept empiricism concept of mind conscientia Copernican corporeal images corporeal memory Cottingham CSMK Descartes thought Descartes treats Descartes writes Discourse doctrine dualism empiricist empiricist principle Epicurean example existence explain external faculties feeling Gassendi geometrical heliocentrism imagery images of sense innate ideas intellectual activity intellectual nature intellectual substance intellectualist interpretation involves judgement kind lucid dream means meditator’s mental Mersenne metaphysics method of doubt modes narrator natural philosophy objects pain particular passage perceive phenomenal consciousness phenomenalist reading philosophy of mind physical primary notions pure intellect Q AT VII question rational reason refers reflection relation res cogitans res extensa sceptical scholastic Second Meditation sensation sense and imagination sense experience sense perception sense-based sensory Sixth Meditation soul talk term thinking thing Third Meditation tradition turn understanding view of animals VIIIA