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
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  • Aix-Marseille Université, Aix-en-Provence, Faculté des lettres, Institut d’Histoire de la Philosophie, Aix-en-Provence, France
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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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