The Development of Descartes’ Idea of Representation by Correspondence

In Andrea Strazzoni & Marco Sgarbi (eds.), Reading Descartes. Consciousness, Body, and Reasoning. Florence: Firenze University Press. pp. 41-57 (2023)
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Abstract

Descartes was the first to hold that, when we perceive, the representation need not resemble what it represents but should correspond to it. Descartes developed this ground-breaking, influential conception in his work on analytic geometry and then transferred it to his theory of perception. I trace the development of the idea in Descartes’ early mathematical works; his articulation of it in Rules for the Direction of the Mind; his first suggestions there to apply this kind of representation-by-correspondence in the scientific inquiry of colours; and, finally, the transfer of the idea to the theory of perception in The World.

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Hanoch Ben-Yami
Central European University

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