Descartes on Causation

Jonathan Bennett

in Learning from Six Philosophers Volume 1

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780198250913
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597053 | DOI:

Series: Learning from Six Philosophers (2 Volumes)

 Descartes on Causation

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  • History of Western Philosophy


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Gives the source of Descartes's view that a cause must in some way resemble its effect. The concept of a trope, or property‐instance, and the theory that causation is trope‐transfer and Descartes's rejection of this is discussed. His theory that substances endure only with help from God and his differing treatments of causal action of body on body, body on mind (including sense perception), mind on body, and mind on mind are explained. Reveals his lack of any robust concept of, or analytic theory of, causation.

Keywords: causation; Descartes; interaction; perception; trope

Chapter.  15012 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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