Pauline Phemister

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Early Modern Europe

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199556137
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy


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This article examines the history of ideas during the early modern period. René Descartes extended the term idea to include sensation, imagination, and memory and located ideas in the human intellect. Not all philosophers agreed with him, and among the most prominent resistors were Baruch Spinoza and Nicolas Malebranche. Spinoza viewed ideas as modes of God insofar as God possesses the attribute of thought. Malebranche too insisted on retaining the pre-Cartesian opinion that ideas exist in God and not in human minds.

Keywords: ideas; early modern period; René Descartes; human intellect; Baruch Spinoza; Nicolas Malebranche; God; human minds

Article.  9171 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Mind

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