By John Carriero
Among Worlds is an authoritative remark on--and strong reinterpretation of--the founding paintings of contemporary philosophy, Descartes's Meditations. Philosophers have tended to learn Descartes's seminal paintings in an occasional method, analyzing its therapy of person subject matters whereas ignoring different elements of the textual content. against this, John Carriero presents a sustained, systematic examining of the entire textual content, giving an in depth account of the positions opposed to which Descartes used to be reacting, and revealing anew the harmony, that means, and originality of the Meditations. Carriero unearths within the Meditations an almost non-stop argument opposed to Thomistic Aristotelian methods of considering cognition, and indicates extra sincerely than ever earlier than how Descartes bridged the outdated global of scholasticism and the hot one in every of mechanistic naturalism. instead of casting Descartes's undertaking essentially by way of skepticism, wisdom, and walk in the park, Carriero specializes in primary disagreements among Descartes and the scholastics over the character of knowing, the relation among the senses and the mind, the character of the man or woman, and the way and to what volume God is cognized by means of humans. in contrast heritage, Carriero indicates, Descartes built his personal conceptions of brain, physique, and the relation among them, making a coherent, philosophically wealthy venture within the Meditations and atmosphere the time table for a century of rationalist metaphysics.
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Extra info for Between Two Worlds: A Reading of Descartes's Meditations
In my view, many accounts of the First Meditation fail to do justice to this continuity, often breaking down around (3), the comparison between thought and painting, just where, it seems to me, the discussion is gathering steam. When I say break down, I do not mean that commentators are unable to offer readings of this obscure discussion that are consistent with their overall take on what is happening in the First Meditation. Rather, their readings do not explain how this moment in the discussion advances an overall argument.
When one cognizes intellectually, one must “turn toward the phantasms” from which one is abstracting. We never, then, leave the phantasms behind in our intellectual cognition; they provide us with, as it were, our portal to the world. It is only through the possession of phantasms (and the species from which the phantasms come) that the soul (in this life, according to its natural mode of cognition) has access to truth or reality; the natural functioning of the human intellect is such that the intellect must employ these stored images in order to cognize truth or reality.
Of which I am indisputably aware, even if it should turn out that there is no keyboard (or, for that matter, no external world). These epistemological surfaces, be they “keyboard ideas” or “keyboard experiences” or whatnot, belong to the mind; and the mind is, fundamentally, the locus of such conscious “states” (to use a word that Descartes does not himself use), which states are sufficiently distinct from body that they could occur in me if I had no body. This view is naturally combined with two other positions.