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Descartes and the Puzzle of Sensory Representation$
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Raffaella De Rosa

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570379

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570379.001.0001

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Externalist Solutions: Causal Accounts

Externalist Solutions: Causal Accounts

(p.67) 3 Externalist Solutions: Causal Accounts
Descartes and the Puzzle of Sensory Representation

Raffaella De Rosa (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The Descartes scholars who champion the view that Cartesian sensations are representational have provided either an externalist or an internalist account of their representationality. This chapter discusses one type of externalist account, viz., a causal one. It argues that causal accounts fail to explain both the representationality of Cartesian sensations and the puzzle of misrepresentation (despite the fact that offering an easy solution to such a puzzle is claimed to be the main motivation for causal accounts). It also argues that these failures indicate that an internalist element must be present even in Descartes' account of sensory representation. This conclusion is the theoretical foundation of the alternative reading of the representationality of sensations defended in Chapter 5.

Keywords:   sensations, causal accounts, externalism, internalism, sensory misrepresentation

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