By John G. Cottingham
To confront the philosophical approach of Rene Descartes is to think about a magnificently laid out map of human cognitive endeavour. In following Descartes arguments, the reader is drawn into the most primary and hard matters in all of philosophy. during this dictionary, John Cottingham provides an alphabetied consultant to this so much stimulating and widely-studied of philosophers. He examines the main innovations and concepts in Cartesian idea and areas them within the context either one of the seventeenth-century highbrow weather and of next interpretation. The entries variety over a wide selection of components together with cosmology, physics, theology, psychology and ethics. The ebook is designed to attract the newcomer to Descartes, even if scholar or common reader, whereas additionally delivering certain severe remark and distinct textual references for the extra complex reader. additionally integrated are a basic advent describing Descartes' existence and works, and bibliographic consultant to the Cartesian texts and the mass of interpretative literature on Descartes.
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Extra info for A Descartes Dictionary
But critical scrutiny of the premises used in the proof of God in Meditation I I I reveals them to be far from straightforward (see CAUSE ) . Second, Descartes' claim that some simple propositions are so transparent and self-evident that nothing could call them into question sits uneasily with the possibility of extreme or 'hyperbolical' doubt that he himselfhad raised in the First Meditation. There the meditator had raised the nightmarish doubt that my nature might be such as to 'make me go wrong every time I add two and three or count the sides of a square or even in some simpler matter, if that is imaginable' (AT VII 2 1 : CSM II 1 4; emphasis supplied) .
Innate if, on the occasion of certain corporeal motions, our mind is to be capable of representing them to itself (AT VIIIB 359: C SM I 304). common notion This term (Latin, notio communis) was originally a render ing of the Greek xotvfJ lvvota the term used to refer to Euclid's axioms. Descartes frequently uses 'common notion' as a technical term for fundamen tal logical axioms such as ' things that are the same as a third thing are the same as each other' (AT X 420: CSM I 45; cf. AT VIllA 9: CSM I 1 97, where one of the Euclidian axioms is explicitly quoted).
The notion o f such a common sensorium was standard doctrine among the scholastics. One might have expected Descartes to have rej ected this notion, both in the light of his resolute hostility to received scholastic doctrine, and also because of his conception of the mind as an incorporeal substance; in fact, however, he not only accepted it, but incorpo rated it into his own theory of mind-body interaction. The basis of this theory is that the mind receives information from the body, and initiates movements in it, at a single location: the conarion, or PINEAL GLAND.
A Descartes Dictionary by John G. Cottingham