Descartes's Theory of Mind

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Descartes is possibly the most famous of all writers on the mind, but his theory of mind has been almost universally misunderstood, because his philosophy has not been seen in the context of his scientific work. Desmond Clarke offers a radical and convincing rereading, undoing the received perception of Descartes as the chief defender of mind/body dualism. For Clarke, the key is to interpret his philosophical efforts as an attempt to reconcile his scientific pursuits with the theologically orthodox views of his time.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Descartes' scientific ambitions were, to be sure, a crucial part of his philosophical project, and Clarke's careful and persuasive exploration of them provides an important addition to the literature." —Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"In this book Clarke offers an interesting spin on Descartes: rather than see him (as many do) simply as a substance dualist who offers a very poor account of the mind, Clarke sees him as a scientist pushing scientific explanation of the mind as far as it will go, and only exiting the path as a substance dualist when explanation has reached its limits. ... Clarke is much to be commended for this reorientation of the bigger picture; but this book is even more to be commended for its detailed and thorough account of the various elements of Descartes's theory of mind. In being nearly a compendium of Descartes's views about various mental phenomena...Clarke's book will be of interest to scholar and novice alike."—The Review of Metaphysics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199284948
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 11/3/2005
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Cartesian Explanation
2. Sensation: Ideas as Brain Patterns
3. Imagination and Memory
4. Passions of the Soul
5. The Will as a Power of Self-Determination
6. Human Language
7. Describing Thought: The Subjective View
8. Descartes's Use of the Concept of Substance
9. Property Dualism

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