Descartes and the Puzzle of Sensory Representation

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Overview

While much has been written on Descartes' theory of mind and ideas, no systematic study of his theory of sensory representation and misrepresentation is currently available in the literature. Descartes and the Puzzle of Sensory Representation is an ambitious attempt to fill this gap. It argues against the established view that Cartesian sensations are mere qualia by defending the view that they are representational; it offers a descriptivist-causal account of their representationality that is critical of, and differs from, all other extant accounts (such as, for example, causal, teleofunctional and purely internalist accounts); and it has the advantage of providing an adequate solution to the problem of sensory misrepresentation within Descartes' internalist theory of ideas. In sum, the book offers a novel account of the representationality of Cartesian sensations; provides a panoramic overview, and critical assessment, of the scholarly literature on this issue; and places Descartes' theory of sensation in the central position it deserves among the philosophical and scientific investigations of the workings of the human mind.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"De Rosa's examination of sensory representation in Descartes is both an intensive study and a masterful polemic on the subject of major concern to all Descartes scholars. It is an excellent contribution to a recent renaissance of erudite and deep studies of Descartes' epistemology." --Journal of the History of Philosophy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199570379
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/22/2010
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Raffaella De Rosa is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University.

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Table of Contents

Preface viii

Acknowledgments xi

Abbreviations xiv

Overview 1

1 Descartes' Account of Ideas and the Puzzle of Sensory Representation 11

2 Non-Representationalist Solutions: Cartesian Sensations as Qualia 36

3 Externalist Solutions: Causal Accounts 67

4 Externalist Solutions: Teleofunctional Accounts 95

5 A Descriptivist-Causal Account and the Solution of the Puzzle of Sensory Representation 117

6 Objections and Replies 162

Conclusion 178

References 180

Index 187

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