Descartes and the Doubting Mind
Descartes'characterisation of the mind as a 'thinking thing' marks the beginning ofmodern philosophy of mind. It is also the point of departure for Descartes' ownsystem in which the mind is the first object of knowledge for those who reason inan 'orderly way'.This ground-breaking book shows that the Cartesian mind has been widelymisunderstood: typically treated as simply the subject ofphenomenal consciousness, ignoring its deeply intellectual character. JamesHill argues that this interpretation has gone hand in hand with amisreading of Descartes' method of doubt which treats it as all-inclusive anduniversal in scope. In fact, the sceptical arguments of the First Meditationaim to lead the mind away from the senses and towards the intellectual 'notions'that the mind has within it, and which are never the subject of doubt. Hillalso places Descartes' concept of mind into the wider setting of his science ofnature, showing how he wished to reveal a mental subject that would able tocomprehend the new physics necessitated by Copernicus'heliocentrism.
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