What Descartes Did Not Know

Ahlstrom-Vij, Kristoffer (2010) What Descartes Did Not Know. Journal of Value Inquiry, 44 (3). pp. 297-311. ISSN 0022-5363. (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10790-010-9237-x

Abstract

According to Descartes, we come to know about the mind and the body as separate substances by way of philosophical meditation, while we see that mind and body may interact as a union by ‘‘using only life and ordinary conversation’’ and ‘‘abstaining from meditating.’’ What is significant, indeed, far more significant than has been appreciated by commentators so far, is that we, thereby, are supposed to answer what has come to be considered one of the most central questions of Descartes’ philosophy, the question ‘‘How do minds and bodies interact?’’, not by way of Descartes’ official method of meditation through methodological doubt and clear and distinct perception, but by explicitly acting against the recommendations of this method. Since meditation is supposed to provide an unshakeable epistemic foundation for claims to knowledge, this raises the question whether there is any sense in which we, on Descartes’ view, can be said to know anything about the mind-body union.

Item Type: Article
Additional information: Winner of the American Philosophical Association's Rockefeller Prize.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Philosophy
Depositing User: Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2012 14:23
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2014 11:18
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/31062 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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