Essays on Descartes

Essays on Descartes

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This is a collection of Paul Hoffman's wide-ranging essays on Descartes composed over the past twenty-five years. The essays in Part I include his celebrated "The Unity of Descartes' Man," in which he argues that Descartes accepts the Aristotelian view that soul and body are related as form to matter and that the human being is a substance; a series of subsequent essays elaborating on this interpretation and defending it against objections; and an essay on Descartes' theory of distinction. In the essays in Part II he argues that Descartes retains the Aristotelian theory of causation according to which an agent's action is the same as the passion it brings about, and explains the significance of this doctrine for understanding Descartes' dualism and physics. In the essays in Part III he argues that Descartes accepts the Aristotelian theory of cognition according to which perception is possible because things that exist in the world are also capable of a different way of existing in the soul, and he shows how this theory figures in Descartes' account of misrepresentation and in the controversy over whether Descartes is a direct realist or a representationalist. The essays in Part IV examine Descartes' theory of the passions of the soul: their definition; their effect on our happiness, virtue, and freedom; and methods of controlling them., PART I - HYLOMORPHISM AND THE THEORY OF DISTINCTION ; 1. The Unity of Descartess Man ; 2. Cartesian Composites ; 3. Descartess Theory of Distinction ; 4. Descartess Watch Analogy ; 5. The Union and Interaction of Mind and Body (Part I) ; 6. Descartes and Aquinas on Per Se Subsistence and the Union of Soul and Body ; PART II CAUSATION ; 7. The Union and Interaction of Mind and Body (Part II) ; 8. Cartesian Passions and Cartesian Dualism ; 9. Passion and Motion in the New Mechanics ; PART III - COGNITION ; 10. Descartes on Misrepresentation ; 11. Direct Realism, Intentionality, and the Objective Being of Ideas ; PART IV MORAL PSYCHOLOGY ; 12. Three Dualist Theories of the Passions ; 13. Freedom and Strength of Will: Descartes and Albritton ; 14. The Passions and Freedom of Will, Essays on Descartes is well?suited both for grazing and for focused forays into specific issues, and for that reason, it is a good thing that the essays can be read independently of each other. I hope the collection will get an audience beyond students and scholars of Descartes, if only to give the lie to prevailing stereotypes of Cartesian dualism. One doesn't have to agree with all of Hoffman's claims...to benefit from having familiar assumptions shaken up. Amy M. Schmitter, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, Paul Hoffman is Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Riverside.

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