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

  • 1 Aix-Marseille Université, Faculté des lettres, Aix-en-Provence, France
Lynda Gaudemard
  • Corresponding author
  • Aix-Marseille Université, Aix-en-Provence, Faculté des lettres, Institut d’Histoire de la Philosophie, Aix-en-Provence, France
  • Email
  • Search for other articles:
  • degruyter.comGoogle Scholar

Abstract:

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.

  • Alanen, L. 2003. Descartes’s Concept of Mind. Cambridge, MA.

  • –. 1986. “On Descartes’s Argument for Dualism and the Distinction between Different Kinds of Beings”. In The Logic of Being: Historical Studies. Eds. S. Knuuttila/J. Hintikka. Dordrecht.

  • Almog, J. 2002. What Am I? Descartes and the Mind-Body Problem. New York.

  • Aquila, R. E. 1988. “The Cartesian and a Certain ‘Poetic’ Notion of Consciousness”. Journal of the History of Ideas 49, 543–562.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Caton, H. 1973. The Origin of Subjectivity. An Essay on Descartes. New Haven.

  • Chalmers, David. 1996. The Conscious Mind. In Search of a Fundamental Theory. Oxford/New York.

  • –. 2002. Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings. Oxford/New York.

  • Chappell, V. 1994. “L’homme cartésien”. In Descartes: Objecter et Répondre. Eds. J.-M. Beyssade/J.-L. Marion. Paris, 403–426.

  • Cottingham, J. 1978. “Descartes on ‘Thought’”. The Philosophical Quarterly 28, 208–214.

  • –. 1985. “Cartesian Trialism”. Mind 94, 218–230.

  • –. 1998. Philosophy and the Good Life. Cambridge.

  • Curley, E. M. 1978. Descartes Against the Skeptics. Cambridge.

  • Descartes, R. 1984–1991. The Philosophical Writings of Descartes. Eds. J. Cottingham/R. Stoothoff/D. Murdoch (transl.). 3 vols. Cambridge.

  • –. 1996. Œuvres complètes. Eds. Ch. Adam/P. Tannery. New presentation of J. Beaude/P. Costabel/A. Gabbey/B. Rochot. 11 vols. Paris, 1964–1974.

  • Fòti, V. 1986. “The Cartesian Imagination”. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 46 (4), 631–642.

  • Garber, D. 1992. Descartes’ Metaphysical Physics. Chicago.

  • Gaukroger, S. 1992. “The Nature of Abstract Reasoning: Philosophical Aspects of Descartes’ Work in Algebra”. In Cambridge Companion to Descartes. Ed. J. Cottingham. New York/Cambridge, 91–114.

  • Gueroult, M. 1968. Descartes selon l’ordre des raisons. Vol. 2. Paris.

  • Heil, J. 1998. Philosophy of Mind: a Contemporary Introduction. London.

  • Heinnämaa, S./Lähteenmäki, V./Remes, P. 2007. Consciousness: From Perception to Reflection in the History of Philosophy. Dordrecht.

  • Hofman, P. 2002. “Descartes’ Theory of Distinction”. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 44, 57–78.

  • –. 1999. “Cartesian Composites”. Journal of the History of the History of Philosophy 37, 251–270.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • –. 1986. “The Unity of Descartes’s Man”. The Philosophical Review 95, 339–370.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Kenny, A. 1999. “Descartes the Dualist”. Ratio 12, 114–127.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Kim, J. 2001. “Lonely Souls: Causality and Substance Dualism”. In Soul, Body and Survival: Essays on the Metaphysics of Human Persons. Ed. K. Corcoran. Ithaca, 30–43.

  • Laporte, J. 1945/2000. Le Rationalisme de Descartes. Paris.

  • Liard, L. 1882. Descartes. Paris.

  • Lyons, J. D. 1999. “Descartes and Modern Imagination”. Philosophy and Literature 23, 302–312.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Marion, J.-L. 1975/2000. Sur l’Ontologie Grise de Descartes: Science Cartésienne et Savoir Aristotélicien dans les Regulae. Paris.

  • McRae, R. 1972. “Descartes’ Definition of Thought”. In Cartesian Studies. Ed. R. J. Butler. Oxford.

  • O’Connor, T./Robb, D. (eds). 2003. Philosophy of Mind: Contemporary Readings. London.

  • Papineau, D. 2009. “The Causal Closure of the Physical and Naturalism”. In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind. Eds. B. Mclaughlin/A. Beckermann/S. Walter. Oxford.

  • Radner, D. 1988. “Thought and Consciousness in Descartes”. Journal of the History of Philosophy 26 (3), 439–452.

  • Rathmann, B. 1981. “L’imagination et le doute: essai sur la genèse de la pensée cartésienne”. Papers on French Seventeenth-Century Literature 8(15), 57–73.

  • Rodis-Lewis, G. 1950. Le Problème de l’Inconscient et le Cartésianisme. Paris.

  • Roy, J.-H. 1944. L’imagination selon Descartes. Paris.

  • Rozemond, M. 2006. “The Nature of the Mind”. In The Blackwell Guide to Descartes’ Meditations. Ed. S. Gaukroger. Oxford, 48–66.

  • –. 1998. Descartes’s Dualism. Cambridge.

  • Schmaltz, T. 1992. “Descartes and Malebranche on Mind and Mind-Body Union”. The Philosophical Review 101, 281–325.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • –. 1996. Malebranche’s Theory of the Soul: a Cartesian Interpretation. New York/Oxford.

  • Schouls; P. A. 2000. Descartes and the Possibility of Science. Ithaca.

  • Sepper, D. L. 1996. Descartes’ Imagination: Proportion, Images, and the Activity of Thinking. Berkeley/Los Angeles.

  • –. 1989. “Descartes and the Eclipse of Imagination, 1618–1630”. Journal of the History of Philosophy 27, 379–403.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Thiel, U. 2011. The Early Modern Subject: Self-Consciousness and Personal Identity from Descartes to Hume. Oxford.

  • Verbeek, T. 1988. La querelle d’Utrecht. Descartes et Martin Schoock. Paris.

  • Wilson, M. 1978. Descartes. London.

Purchase article
Get instant unlimited access to the article.
$42.00
Log in
Already have access? Please log in.


or
Log in with your institution

Journal + Issues

The journal publishes exceptional articles in all areas of Western philosophy from antiquity up to contemporary philosophy. The Archiv articles are distinguished by precise argumentation and lucid prose. In addition to publishing articles and reviews, the journal occasionally features a discussion section where particularly controversial positions are debated.

Search