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Descartes's Theory of Mind
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Descartes's Theory of Mind

Desmond Clarke


Descartes argues that no explanation of any phenomenon may assume or merely re‐describe what needs to be explained. He cannot, therefore, propose substance dualism as a theory of mind. To explain mental activities such as sensation, memory, or imagination, one must hypothesize how they result from interaction between the environment, the senses, and the processing of the brain. Descartes initiated such a naturalized account. However, given the state of neurology in the seventeenth century, his efforts were doomed. The failure to construct a scientific theory that bridges the theoretical gap be ... More

Keywords: Descartes, dualism, explanation, imagination, matter, memory, sensation, substance, theory of mind

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2003 Print ISBN-13: 9780199261239
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003 DOI:10.1093/0199261237.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Desmond Clarke, author
Department of Philosophy, University College, Cork, Ireland
Author Webpage