Nicholas Jolley

in The Light of the Soul

Published in print October 1998 | ISBN: 9780198238195
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597824 | DOI:

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It is well known that Descartes revived the ancient doctrine of innate ideas. However, it is doubtful whether Descartes advanced a single doctrine that employs the same concept of innateness throughout. We shall see that Descartes appeals to innate ideas in response to a number of different philosophical questions; he invokes them not just in his account of a priori knowledge but also in connection with his anti‐Scholastic theory of perception and his strange doctrine of the creation of the eternal truths. We shall see further that Descartes's position on innate ideas was accepted as it stands by none of his rationalist successors, and that at the centre of subsequent debate was the nature of ideas themselves.

Keywords: causation; Comments on a Certain Broadsheet; Descartes; disposition; dispositional property; eternal truths; innate ideas; intellectual ideas; perception

Chapter.  9773 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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