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Descartes’s Conception of Mind Through the Prism of Imagination: Cartesian Substance Dualism Questioned

Lynda Gaudemard


The aim of this article is to clarify an aspect of Descartes’s conception of mind that seriously impacts on the standard objections against Cartesian Dualism. By a close reading of Descartes’s writings on imagination, I argue that the capacity to imagine does not inhere as a mode in the mind itself, but only in the embodied mind, that is, a mind that is not united to the body does not possess the faculty to imagine. As a mode considered as a general property, and not as an instance of it, belongs to the essence of the substance, and as imagination (like sensation) arises from the mind-body union, then the problem arises of knowing to what extent a Cartesian embodied mind is separable from the body.

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Published Online: 2018-06-07
Published in Print: 2018-06-05

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