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Title: Descartes' Theory of Ideas
Author: Clemenson, David
Publisher: Continuum International Pub Inc; Publication Date: 2007
Hardcover; ISBN: 9780826487735
Volumes: 1; Pages: 176
List Price in Hardcover: $135.00 Our price: $135.00
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Descartes held that only ideas are immediately perceived, and that all ideas are really identical to mental states. Yet certain passages in the Meditations seem to assert that some extramental individuals--the sun, for example, or a piece of wax--can be immediately perceived (not by the senses, but by the intellect). If so then Descartes was committed to the seemingly absurd claim that extramental things can be really identical to mental states. But the claim is not absurd; as this book shows, it is based on a coherent doctrine of intentional representation that was taught at the Jesuit college of La Fl che that Descartes attended as a youth. On this doctrine, an individual that is outside the mind with one sort of being can be inside it with another. This book brings a fresh perspective to the currently deadlocked debate over whether Descartes was a representationalist or a direct realist, and sheds new light on his difficult notions of material falsity and the self-representational character of thought.