Descartes' Model of Mind

In Robin L. Cautin & Scott O. Lilienfeld (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Clinical Psychology (2015)
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Rene Descartes (1596 – 1650) is considered the founder of modern philosophy. Profoundly influenced by the new physics and astronomy of Kepler and Galileo, Descartes was a scientist and mathematician whose most long-lasting contributions in science were the invention of Cartesian coordinates, the application of algebra to geometry, and the discovery of the law of refraction, what we now call Snell’s law.His most important books on philosophy were The discourse on method(1637) and The meditations(1642). Descartes’ writings display an exemplary degree of clarity and an aversion to pedantry. I explore Descartes' break with Aristotle, but also shine a light on the intellectual continuity Descartes had with Aristotle's thought. I also draw attention to some overlooked but interesting possibilities for an experimental test of a dualistic theory of mind.

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Ray Scott Percival
London School of Economics


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