Descartes and the Puzzle of Sensory Representation by Raffaella De Rosa

By Raffaella De Rosa

Whereas a lot has been written on Descartes' conception of brain and ideas, no systematic examine of his idea of sensory illustration and misrepresentation is presently to be had within the literature. Descartes and the Puzzle of Sensory Misrepresentation is an bold try to fill this hole. It argues opposed to the validated view that Cartesian sensations are mere qualia via protecting the view that they're representational; it bargains a descriptivist-causal account in their representationality that's serious of, and differs from, all different extant money owed (such as, for instance, causal, teleofunctional and in simple terms internalist accounts); and it has the good thing about delivering an sufficient way to the matter of sensory misrepresentation inside of Descartes' internalist conception of rules. In sum, the booklet deals a singular account of the representationality of Cartesian sensations; presents a wide ranging evaluate, and important review, of the scholarly literature in this factor; and areas Descartes' conception of sensation within the principal place it merits one of the philosophical and clinical investigations of the workings of the human brain.

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18 For a different view, see for example, Wilson (1978), chapter three and Vinci (1998), chapter seven. According to both Wilson (1978) and Vinci (1998), Descartes’ views on sensory ideas changed over time. ” According to Wilson (1978), Descartes is saying that sensations still seem to represent something in the external world but they do not actually represent anything. According to Vinci, Descartes is saying that ideas of sense represent whiteness, redness and so on (which are nothing but sensations) as “quasi-substantial entit[ies] that [are] more than mere mode[s] of substances” (see Vinci (1998), p.

This role is allotted to the intellect alone. 6 If this non-representationalist interpretation of Cartesian sensations were correct, the puzzle of sensory representation would be a red herring. However, we cannot dismiss the puzzle so easily since the non-representationalist interpretation of Cartesian sensations is not correct. This chapter defends this claim. 4). 6). 8 Sensations of color and the like are devoid of intrinsic intentionality. 52 53 and 6 See for example MacKenzie (1990), p. i and S Elucidation III.

12 (II) The mode of presentation provides an identifying description of the object. (III) The mode of presentation of an idea determines its object so that the idea refers to whatever corresponds to (or satisfies) its mode of presentation. 13 Let me make two general remarks about DA. First, DA is modeled after the clear and distinct ideas of the intellect since, according to Descartes, those are the ideas that present the object to the mind as it actually is. 14 This is confirmed by Descartes’ remark, in his exchange with Arnauld that we must distinguish between 12 Ideas so individuated are “abstract” ideas in the sense that they represent particular objects and are tokened by different minds or by the same mind at different times.

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