By John G. Cottingham
To confront the philosophical method of Rene Descartes is to think about a magnificently laid out map of human cognitive endeavour. In following Descartes arguments, the reader is drawn into one of the most primary and not easy concerns in all of philosophy. during this dictionary, John Cottingham offers an alphabetied advisor to this so much stimulating and widely-studied of philosophers. He examines the main suggestions and ideas in Cartesian notion and locations them within the context either one of the seventeenth-century highbrow weather and of next interpretation. The entries diversity over a wide selection of parts together with cosmology, physics, theology, psychology and ethics. The booklet is designed to attract the newcomer to Descartes, no matter if pupil or common reader, whereas additionally delivering specified serious remark and certain textual references for the extra complex reader. additionally incorporated are a common creation describing Descartes' existence and works, and bibliographic consultant to the Cartesian texts and the mass of interpretative literature on Descartes.
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Additional resources for A Descartes Dictionary
He argues that the class of innate ideas includes even sensory ideas: 'the ideas of pain, colours, sounds and the like must be . . innate if, on the occasion of certain corporeal motions, our mind is to be capable of representing them to itself (AT VIIIB 359: C SM I 304). common notion This term (Latin, notio communis) was originally a render ing of the Greek xotvfJ lvvota the term used to refer to Euclid's axioms. Descartes frequently uses 'common notion' as a technical term for fundamen tal logical axioms such as ' things that are the same as a third thing are the same as each other' (AT X 420: CSM I 45; cf.
Conversation with Burman, AT V 1 58: CSMK 341 ) . The 'anti-finalistic' C artesian approach to physics thus prefigures the deism of the following century, where God 1s seen as an impersonal creator, remote from the afiairs of mankind. cause, formal vs. eminent When explicating the principle that 'there must be at least as much in the cause as in the effect' (see CAUSE ) , Descartes observes that 'a stone, for example, which did not previously exist, cannot begin to exist unless it is produced by something which contains, either formally or eminently [formaliter vel eminenter] everything to be found in the stone' (AT VII 4 1 : C S M II 28) .
Frequently he talks of COMPENDIUM MUSICAE 39 'images' or 'ideas' being imprinted there (see Treatise on Man, AT XI 202 : CSM I 1 08); but since whatever happens in the organs of the brain must, for Descartes, be describable in strictly material terms, he is not entitled to mean by 'image' anything more than some kind of purely physiological or corpor eal pattern. But why, we may then ask, is it necessary for the sensory data to be integrated by the 'common' sense into a single pattern, to enable us (for example) to see or hear?