Chapter

Pure Perception

Tad M. Schmaltz

in Malebranche's Theory of the Soul

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780195103441
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833641 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195103440.003.0004
 Pure Perception

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In this chapter, Section 1 considers Malebranche's attempt to couple Descartes's claim that we know the nature of body through the intellect rather than through the senses with the corollary of his own doctrine of the “vision in God” that we know bodies by means of an idea of extension that exists in God. Though Malebranche's initial discussions of this doctrine emphasize the distinction between sensory modifications of our soul and the intellectual idea of extension in God, his later writings indicate that this idea is causally linked in a special way to intellectual or pure perceptions in us that clearly reveal the nature of body. Section 2 relates this mature position to his disputes with Cartesian critics such as Arnauld and Regis over the nature of ideas. This section also highlights Malebranche's claim against such critics that our pure perceptions are no more intelligible to us than are our sensations. Such a claim draws attention to the contrast between the clear objective view of body provided by pure perceptions and the confused subjective view of the perceptions themselves.

Keywords: Arnauld; Descartes; God; intellect; Malebranche; pure perception; Regis; vision in God

Chapter.  17746 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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