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Descartes' physiology and its relation to his psychology

In John Cottingham (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Descartes. Cambridge University Press. pp. 335--370 (1992)

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  1. Descartes's Pineal Gland Reconsidered.Lisa Shapiro - 2011 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 35 (1):259-286.
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  • Activating the Mind: Descartes' Dreams and the Awakening of the Human Animal Machine.Anik Waldow - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):299-325.
    In this essay I argue that one of the things that matters most to Descartes' account of mind is that we use our minds actively. This is because for him only an active mind is able to re-organize its passionate experiences in such a way that a genuinely human, self-governed life of virtue and true contentment becomes possible. To bring out this connection, I will read the Meditations against the backdrop of Descartes' correspondence with Elisabeth. This will reveal that in (...)
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  • Distributed Memory, Coupling, and History.John Sutton - 1999 - In R. Heath, B. Hayes, A. Heathcote & C. Hooker (eds.), Dynamical Cognitive Science: Proceedings of the Fourth Australasian Cognitive Science Conference. University of Newcastle.
    A case study in historical cognitive science, this paper addresses two claims made by radical proponents of new dynamical approaches. It queries their historical narrative, which sees embodied, situated cognition as correcting an individualist, atemporal framework originating in Descartes. In fact, new Descartes scholarship shows that 17th-century animal spirits neurophysiology realized a recognizably distributed model of memory; explicit representations are patterns of spirit flow, and memory traces are changes left by experience in connections between brain pores. This historical sketch supports (...)
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  • Mental Acts and Mechanistic Psychology in Descartes' Passions.Gary Hatfield - 2008 - In Neil Robertson, Gordon McOuat & Tom Vinci (eds.), Descartes and the Modern. Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 49-71.
    This chapter examines the mechanistic psychology of Descartes in the _Passions_, while also drawing on the _Treatise on Man_. It develops the idea of a Cartesian “psychology” that relies on purely bodily mechanisms by showing that he explained some behaviorally appropriate responses through bodily mechanisms alone and that he envisioned the tailoring of such responses to environmental circumstances through a purely corporeal “memory.” An animal’s adjustment of behavior as caused by recurring patterns of sensory stimulation falls under the notion of (...)
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  • The Passions of the Soul and Descartes’s Machine Psychology.Gary Hatfield - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 38 (1):1-35.
    Descartes developed an elaborate theory of animal physiology that he used to explain functionally organized, situationally adapted behavior in both human and nonhuman animals. Although he restricted true mentality to the human soul, I argue that he developed a purely mechanistic (or material) ‘psychology’ of sensory, motor, and low-level cognitive functions. In effect, he sought to mechanize the offices of the Aristotelian sensitive soul. He described the basic mechanisms in the Treatise on man, which he summarized in the Discourse. However, (...)
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  • Sensible Ends: Latent Teleology in Descartes' Account of Sensation.Alison J. Simmons - 2001 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 39 (1):49-75.
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  • Perception as Unconscious Inference.Gary Hatfield - 2002 - In Dieter Heyer & Rainer Mausfeld (eds.), Perception and the Physical World: Psychological and Philosophical Issues in Perception. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 113--143.
    In this chapter I examine past and recent theories of unconscious inference. Most theorists have ascribed inferences to perception literally, not analogically, and I focus on the literal approach. I examine three problems faced by such theories if their commitment to unconscious inferences is taken seriously. Two problems concern the cognitive resources that must be available to the visual system (or a more central system) to support the inferences in question. The third problem focuses on how the conclusions of inferences (...)
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  • Descartes’s Theory of Mind.Desmond Clarke - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
    Descartes is possibly the most famous of all writers on the mind, but his theory of mind has been almost universally misunderstood, because his philosophy has not been seen in the context of his scientific work. Desmond Clarke offers a radical and convincing rereading, undoing the received perception of Descartes as the chief defender of mind/body dualism. For Clarke, the key is to interpret his philosophical efforts as an attempt to reconcile his scientific pursuits with the theologically orthodox views of (...)
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  • Scepticism and Science in Descartes.José Luis Bermúdez - 1997 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (4):743-772.
    Recent work on Descartes has drastically revised the traditional conception of Descartes as a paradigmatic rationalist and foundationalist. The traditional picture, familar from histories of philosophy and introductory lectures, is of a solitary meditator dedicated to the pursuit of certainty in a unified science via a rigourous process of logical deduction from indubitable first principles. But the Descartes that has emerged from recent studies strikes a more subtle balance between metaphysics, physics, epistemology and the philosophy of science. There is much (...)
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  • ‘A Compound Wholly Mortal’: Locke and Newton on the Metaphysics of Immortality.Liam P. Dempsey - 2011 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (2):241-264.
    In this paper I consider a cluster of positions which depart from the immortalist and dualist anthropologies of Rene Descartes and Henry More. In particular, I argue that John Locke and Isaac Newton are attracted to a monistic mind-body metaphysics, which while resisting neat characterization, occupies a conceptual space distinct from the dualism of the immortalists, on the one hand, and thoroughgoing materialism of Thomas Hobbes, on the other. They propound a sort of property monism: mind and body are distinct, (...)
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  • The Mind-Body Union, Interaction, and Subsumption.Louis E. Loeb - 2005 - In Christia Mercer (ed.), Early Modern Philosophy: Mind, Matter, and Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 65--85.
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  • God's Machines: Descartes on the Mechanization of Mind.Michael Wheeler - unknown
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  • Psychology, Philosophy, and Cognitive Science: Reflections on the History and Philosophy of Experimental Psychology.Gary Hatfield - 2002 - Mind and Language 17 (3):207-232.
    This article critically examines the views that psychology first came into existence as a discipline ca. 1879, that philosophy and psychology were estranged in the ensuing decades, that psychology finally became scientific through the influence of logical empiricism, and that it should now disappear in favor of cognitive science and neuroscience. It argues that psychology had a natural philosophical phase (from antiquity) that waxed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, that this psychology transformed into experimental psychology ca. 1900, that philosophers (...)
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  • Descartes the Doctor: Rationalism and its Therapies.Steven Shapin - 2000 - British Journal for the History of Science 33 (2):131-154.
    During the Scientific Revolution one important gauge of the quality of reformed natural philosophical knowledge was its ability to produce a more effective medical practice. Indeed, it was sometimes thought that philosophers who pretended to possess new and more potent philosophical knowledge might display that possession in personal health and longevity. René Descartes repeatedly wrote that a better medical practice was a major aim of his philosophical enterprise. He said that he had made important strides towards achieving that aim and, (...)
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  • “The Body I Call ‘Mine’ ”: A Sense of Bodily Ownership in Descartes.Colin Chamberlain - 2019 - European Journal of Philosophy 27 (1):3-24.
    How does Descartes characterize the peculiar way in which each of us is aware of our bodies? I argue that Descartes recognizes a sense of bodily ownership, such that the body sensorily appears to be one's own in bodily awareness. This sensory appearance of ownership is ubiquitous, for Descartes, in that bodily awareness always confers a sense of ownership. This appearance is confused, in so far as bodily awareness simultaneously represents the subject as identical to, partially composed by, and united (...)
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  • Cartesian Psychophysics and the Whole Nature of Man: On Descartes’s Passions of the Soul.Richard F. Hassing - 2015 - Lexington Books.
    This book describes Descartes's The Passions of the Soul as a foundational work of the Enlightenment, a precursor of later notions of the historicity of the human, and the first psychology of modern type: to understand and heal ourselves, we look not outward at the world in immediate relation to it, but inward, at the self, its brain, and its past history. Special attention is given to Descartes’s account of imagination and its problematic impact on passion and volition.
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  • Newton and Empiricism.Zvi Biener & Eric Schliesser (eds.) - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    This is the first volume of original commissioned papers on the subject of Newton and empiricism. The chapters, contributed by a leading team of both established and younger international scholars, explore the nature and extent of Newton's relationship to a variety of empiricisms and empiricists.
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  • The Use of Usus and the Function of Functio: Teleology and Its Limits in Descartes’s Physiology.Peter M. Distelzweig - 2015 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 53 (3):377-399.
    rené descartes famously and explicitly rejects appeals to final causes in natural philosophy, suggesting that such appeals depend on knowledge of God’s inscrutable ends.For since I now know that my own nature is very weak and limited, whereas the nature of God is immense, incomprehensible and infinite, I also know without more ado that he is capable of countless things whose causes are beyond my knowledge. And for this reason alone I consider the whole kind of causes, customarily sought from (...)
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  • Natural Geometry in Descartes and Kepler.Gary Hatfield - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (1):117-148.
    According to Kepler and Descartes, the geometry of the triangle formed by the two eyes when focused on a single point affords perception of the distance to that point. Kepler characterized the processes involved as associative learning. Descartes described the processes as a “ natural geometry.” Many interpreters have Descartes holding that perceivers calculate the distance to the focal point using angle-side-angle, calculations that are reduced to unnoticed mental habits in adult vision. This article offers a purely psychophysiological interpretation of (...)
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  • Descartes on Physical Causes of Impaired Judgment.Scott Kimbrough - 2005 - Journal of Philosophical Research 30 (9999):117-140.
    Descartes is typically interpreted as asserting two related theses: 1) that the will is absolutely free in the sense that no bodily state can compel it or restrain its activity; and 2) that error is always avoidable, no matter what the condition of the body. On the basis of Descartes’s discussions of insanity and dreaming, I argue that both of these interpretive claims are false. In other words, Descartes acknowledged that a diseased or otherwise out of sorts body can compel (...)
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  • Spatial Perception From a Cartesian Point of View.Alison Simmons - 2003 - Philosophical Topics 31 (1/2):395-423.
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  • Descartes' Psychology of Vision and Cognitive Science: The Optics (1637) in the Light of Marr's (1982) Vision.Geir kirkebøen - 1998 - Philosophical Psychology 11 (2):161 – 182.
    In this paper I consider the relation between Descartes' psychology of vision and the cognitive science approach to psychology (henceforth CS). In particular, I examine Descartes' the Optics (1637) in the light of David Marr's (1982) position in CS. My general claim is that CS can be seen as a rediscovery of Descartes' psychology of vision. In the first section, I point to a parallel between Descartes' epistemological revolution, which created the modem version of the problem of perception, and the (...)
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  • Material Translations in the Cartesian Brain.Nima Bassiri - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (1):244-255.
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  • Material Translations in the Cartesian Brain.Nima Bassiri - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):244-255.
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  • Reconstructing the Cognitive World: The Next Step.Michael Wheeler - 2007 - Bradford.
    In _Reconstructing the Cognitive World_, Michael Wheeler argues that we should turn away from the generically Cartesian philosophical foundations of much contemporary cognitive science research and proposes instead a Heideggerian approach. Wheeler begins with an interpretation of Descartes. He defines Cartesian psychology as a conceptual framework of explanatory principles and shows how each of these principles is part of the deep assumptions of orthodox cognitive science. Wheeler then turns to Heidegger's radically non-Cartesian account of everyday cognition, which, he argues, can (...)
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  • On Natural Geometry and Seeing Distance Directly in Descartes.Gary Hatfield - 2015 - In Vincenzo De Risi (ed.), Mathematizing Space: The Objects of Geometry from Antiquity to the Early Modern Age. Berlin: Birkhäuser. pp. 157-91.
    As the word “optics” was understood from antiquity into and beyond the early modern period, it did not mean simply the physics and geometry of light, but meant the “theory of vision” and included what we should now call physiological and psychological aspects. From antiquity, these aspects were subject to geometrical analysis. Accordingly, the geometry of visual experience has long been an object of investigation. This chapter examines accounts of size and distance perception in antiquity (Euclid and Ptolemy) and the (...)
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  • Teleology and Natures in Descartes' Sixth Meditation.Karen Detlefsen - 2013 - In Descartes' Meditations: A Critical Guide. Cambridge University Press. pp. 153-176.
    In this paper, I consider Descartes’ Sixth Meditation dropsy passage on the difference between the human body considered in itself and the human composite of mind and body. I do so as a way of illuminating some features of Descartes’ broader thinking about teleology, including the role of teleological explanations in physiology. I use the writings on teleology of some ancient authors for the conceptual (but not historical) help they can provide in helping us to think about the Sixth Meditation (...)
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  • Passion and Action: The Emotions in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy.Susan James - 1997 - Oxford University Press.
    Passion and Action is an exploration of the role of the passions in seventeenth-century thought. Susan James offers fresh readings of a broad range of thinkers, including such canonical figures as Hobbes, Descartes, Malebranche, Spinoza, Pascal, and Locke, and shows that a full understanding of their philosophies must take account of their interpretations of our affective life. This ground-breaking study throws new light upon the shaping of our ideas about the mind, knowledge, and action, and provides a historical context for (...)
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  • The History of Psychological Categories.Roger Smith - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 36 (1):55-94.
    Psychological terms, such as ‘mind’, ‘memory’, ‘emotion’ and indeed ‘psychology’ itself, have a history. This history, I argue, supports the view that basic psychological categories refer to historical and social entities, and not to ‘natural kinds’. The case is argued through a wide ranging review of the historiography of western psychology, first, in connection with the field’s extreme modern diversity; second, in relation to the possible antecedents of the field in the early modern period; and lastly, through a brief introduction (...)
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  • Idealism: The History of a Philosophy.Jeremy Dunham, Iain Hamilton Grant & Sean Watson - 2010 - Routledge.
    Idealism is philosophy on a grand scale, combining micro and macroscopic problems into systematic accounts of everything from the nature of the universe to the particulars of human feeling. In consequence, it offers perspectives on everything from the natural to the social sciences, from ecology to critical theory. Heavily criticised by the dominant philosophies of the 20th Century, Idealism is now being reconsidered as a rich and untapped resource for contemporary philosophical arguments and concepts. This volume provides a comprehensive portrait (...)
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  • Kapitel III Descartes - Mechanismus und Menschenvernunft.Markus Wild - 2007 - In Die Anthropologische Differenz: Der Geist der Tiere in der Frühen Neuzeit Bei Montaigne, Descartes Und Hume. Walter de Gruyter.
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  • Descartes on Sensation: A Defense of the Semantic-Causation Model.Andrew Chignell - 2009 - Philosophers' Imprint 9:1-22.
    Descartes's lack of clarity about the causal connections between brain states and mental states has led many commentators to conclude that he has no coherent account of body-mind relations in sensation, or that he was simply confused about the issue. In this paper I develop what I take to be a coherent account that was available to Descartes, and argue that there are both textual and systematic reasons to think that it was his considered view. The account has brain states (...)
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  • Descartes, Corpuscles and Reductionism: Mechanism and Systems in Descartes' Physiology.Barnaby R. Hutchins - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (261):669-689.
    I argue that Descartes explains physiology in terms of whole systems, and not in terms of the size, shape and motion of tiny corpuscles (corpuscular mechanics). It is a standard, entrenched view that Descartes’ proper means of explanation in the natural world is through strict reduction to corpuscular mechanics. This view is bolstered by a handful of corpuscular–mechanical explanations in Descartes’ physics, which have been taken to be representative of his treatment of all natural phenomena. However, Descartes’ explanations of the (...)
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  • Thinking-Matter Then and Now: The Evolution of Mind-Body Dualism.Liam P. Dempsey - 2009 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 26 (1):43 - 61.
    Since the seventeenth century, mind-body dualism has undergone an evolution, both in its metaphysics and its supporting arguments. In particular, debates in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England prepared the way for the fall of substance dualism—the view that the human mind is an immaterial substance capable of independent existence—and the rise of a much less radical property dualism. The evolution from the faltering plausibility of substance dualism to the growing appeal of property dualism depended on at least two factors. On the (...)
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  • Theatrum Philosophicum: Descartes Und Die Rolle Ästhetischer Formen in der Wissenschaft.Claus Zittel - 2009 - Akademie Verlag.
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  • Representational Ideas From Plato to Patricia Churchland.Richard A. Watson - 1995
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  • Descartes' Dismissal of Scholastic Intentional Forms: What Would Thomas Aquinas Say?Anthony Crifasi - 2011 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 28 (2):141.
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  • Descartes' Cardiology and its Reception in English Physiology.Peter Anstey - 2000 - In John Schuster, Stephen Gaukroger & John Sutton (eds.), Descartes' Natural Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 420--444.
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  • The Mathematisation of Nature and Newtonian Physics.Ladislav Kvasz - 2005 - Philosophia Naturalis 42 (2):183-211.
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  • The Culture of the Body Genealogies of Modernity.Dalia Judovitz - 2001
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  • The Metaphysics of Perception: Wilfrid Sellars, Critical Realism, and the Nature of Experience.Paul Coates - 2007 - Routledge.
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