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Causality and MindEssays on Early Modern Philosophy$
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Nicholas Jolley

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199669554

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199669554.001.0001

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Descartes and the Action of Body on Mind

Descartes and the Action of Body on Mind

(p.28) 2 Descartes and the Action of Body on Mind
Causality and Mind

Nicholas Jolley

Oxford University Press

Some modern scholars such as Loeb have defended Descartes’ doctrine of mind-body interaction by arguing that it is not inconsistent with his Causal Adequacy Principle. This chapter seeks to extend this line of defence by focusing on the causation of mental events by bodies. It is shown that Descartes’ position here is complicated by his distinction between the formal and objective reality of ideas and by his subscription to the Augustinian principle that minds are more perfect than bodies. It is argued, however, that even when these complications are recognized, Descartes’ position emerges largely unscathed; at most the Causal Adequacy Principle is a source of difficulty only for a strong version of interactionism.

Keywords:   Causal Adequacy Principle, Descartes, formal reality, ideas, interactionism, Loeb, objective reality

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