Tom Sorell

in Descartes

Published in print October 2000 | ISBN: 9780192854094
Published online September 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191776632 | DOI:

Series: Very Short Introductions


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Just as Descartes conceived the mind without attributes involving a body as complete, so a conception of body that omits all properties dependent on a mind was also considered complete. ‘Body ’ shows that this austere conception was designed to cement Descartes' metaphysics to his physics. Qualitative representations of bodies do help us to preserve our lives, however. Moreover, they need not hinder us in acquiring a science of nature since qualitative representations can coexist in a mind with ideas of the simple natures of size, shape, number, place, and so on, that enable us to get a purchase on bodies independently of their qualities.

Keywords: body; geometry; imagination; light; mathematics; matter; mind; nature; perception; philosophy

Chapter.  1906 words. 

Subjects: 17th - 18th Century Philosophy

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