By John G. Cottingham
To confront the philosophical procedure of Rene Descartes is to consider a magnificently laid out map of human cognitive endeavour. In following Descartes arguments, the reader is drawn into one of the most primary and demanding matters in all of philosophy. during this dictionary, John Cottingham offers an alphabetied consultant to this such a lot stimulating and widely-studied of philosophers. He examines the main ideas and concepts in Cartesian suggestion and areas them within the context either one of the seventeenth-century highbrow weather and of next interpretation. The entries variety over a wide selection of components together with cosmology, physics, theology, psychology and ethics. The publication is designed to entice the newcomer to Descartes, even if scholar or basic reader, whereas additionally delivering specific serious remark and distinct textual references for the extra complex reader. additionally integrated are a common advent describing Descartes' lifestyles and works, and bibliographic advisor to the Cartesian texts and the mass of interpretative literature on Descartes.
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Extra resources for A Descartes Dictionary
Any variation in matter or diversity in its many forms depends on motion' (Principles, Part I I , art. 23) . In some cases Descartes switches within a single paragraph from using corpus in the ordinary sense, to refer to 'a body' and using it in his more technical sense to mean 'corporeal substance in general' : compare Principles, Part II, art. 1 1 , where he invites us to attend to 'the idea we have of some body (alicujus corporis) such as a stone, and to leave out everything we know to be non-essential to the nature of body (natura corporis) '; the result of this process is that we are left with the pure notion of something extended in length, breadth and depth, and the conclu sion Descartes draws is that there is in fact no real distinction between extension (or space) and corporeal substance (see EXTENSION and SPACE ) .
For Descartes makes his underlying intentions here quite clear in the Synopsis to the Meditations, where it emerges that an individual human body does not qualify for the title of 'extended substance' : 'we need to recognize that body taken in the general sense (corpus in genere sumptum) is a substance, so that it . . never perishes . . but the human body, in so far as it diflers from other bodies, is simply made up of a certain configuration of limbs and other accidental properties of this sort .
Comments on a Certain Broadsheet, AT VIIIB 359: CSM I 304) . The explanation for the particular qualitative character of our colour sensations has, for Descartes, to be sought outside the realm of physical science: God has simply decreed that the soul should have sensations of various kinds corresponding to the various ways in which the brain can be stimulated via the nervous system ( Treatise on Man, AT XI 1 43 : CSM I 1 02 ) ; in so far as the explanation for these divinely decreed correlations is accessible to us, it relates to the benevolent purposes of God in wishing to help the soul monitor the condition of the body and the external world in a way which is conducive to personal health and survival ( cf.
A Descartes Dictionary by John G. Cottingham