In the course of the debates on Priscian's notion of the perfect sentence, the philosopher Peter Abelard developed a theory that closely resembles modern accounts of propositional attitudes and that goes far beyond the established Aristotelian conceptions of the sentence. According to Abelard, the perfection of a sentence does not depend on the content that it expresses, but on the fact that the content is stated along with the propositional attitude towards the content. This paper tries to provide an analysis and a consistent interpretation of Abelard's arguments within the framework of the mediaeval models of language and mind.
Malebranche famously objects to Descartes' argument that the nature of the mind is better known than the nature of body as follows: if we had an idea of the mind's nature we would know the possible range of modes of the mind, including the sensory modes, but we do not know those modes and thus can't have an idea of the mind's nature. I argue that Malebranche's objections are readily answerable from within the Cartesian system. This argument involves examining the status of sensations in Descartes, innate ideas, and Malebranche's occasionalism.
I argue that Condillac was committed to four mutually inconsistent propositions: that the mind is unextended, that sensations are modifications of the mind, that colours are sensations, and that colours are extended. I argue that this inconsistency was not just the blunder of a second-rate philosopher, but the consequence of a deep-seated tension in the views of early modern philosophers on the nature of the mind, sensation, and secondary qualities and that more widely studied figures, notably Condillac's contemporaries, Hume and Reid, were not ultimately any more successful at developing an account of vision that unproblematically avoids the paradox. In passing, I take issue with Nicholas Pastore's account of how Condillac's Treatise on Sensations deals with the visual perception of form (in A Selective History of Theories of Visual Perception).
Philosophers in the analytic and phenomenological traditions have interpreted Brentano's intentionality thesis, and his empirical psychology more generally, in significantly different ways. Disregarding Brentano's distinctive psychological method, analytic philosophers have typically read him as a philosopher of mind, and his intentionality thesis as a contribution to the Cartesian project of clarifying the distinction between the mental and the physical. Phenomenologists, while more attentive to his method, tended to read Brentano as merely Òon the wayÓ to a truly phenomenological approach. I offer a third reading of Brentano thesis, one that attends to both the motivating concerns and the distinctive methodological features of his psychological project.
This paper advances an account of Twardowski as a representationalist. In particular, Twardowskian representationalism is a blend of what I call resemblance representationalism and mediator-content representationalism. It was not, I argue here, proxy-percept representationalism. Twardowski treated mental contents as "signs" or "quasi-pictures." Husserl was a well-known critic of this view. I additionally argue that Husserl's criticism is grounded in the claim that Twardowski conflated representational content with sensations. The distinction on which this Husserlian criticism rests is between the psychological and ideal contents of consciousness, the cornerstone of the early Husserlian phenomenology.
Sarkar, Husain. Descartes' cogito: saved from the great shipwreck.
Descartes, René, 1596-1650.
Ahlers, Rolf, 1936-
Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi: Werke: Vol. 1, Schriften zum Spinozastreit (1998), Vol. 2, Schriften zum transzendentalen Idealismus (2004), Vol. 3, Schriften zum Streit um die göttlichen Dinge und ihre Offenbarung (2000) (review) [Access article in HTML][Access article in PDF] Subject Headings: