Cartesian Reflections: Essays on Descartess Philosophy

Hardcover | October 4, 2008

byJohn Cottingham

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John Cottingham explores central areas of Descartes's rich and wide-ranging philosophical system, including his accounts of thought and language, of freedom and action, of our relationship to the animal domain, and of human morality and the conduct of life. He also examines ways in which hisphilosophy has been misunderstood. The Cartesian mind-body dualism that is so often attacked is only a part of Descartes's account of what it is to be a thinking, sentient, human creature, and the way he makes the division between the mental and the physical is considerably more subtle, andphilosophically more appealing, than is generally assumed. Although Descartes is often considered to be one of the heralds of our modern secular worldview, the 'new' philosophy which he launched retains many links with the ideas of his predecessors, not least in the all-pervasive role it assigns toGod (something that is ignored or downplayed by many modern readers); and the character of the Cartesian outlook is multifaceted, sometimes anticipating Enlightenment ideas of human autonomy and independent scientific inquiry, but also sometimes harmonizing with more traditional notions of humannature as created to find fulfilment in harmony with its creator.

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John Cottingham explores central areas of Descartes's rich and wide-ranging philosophical system, including his accounts of thought and language, of freedom and action, of our relationship to the animal domain, and of human morality and the conduct of life. He also examines ways in which hisphilosophy has been misunderstood. The Cartes...

John Cottingham is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Reading. His principal research interests are in early-modern philosophy (especially Descartes) and in the philosophy of life.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:October 4, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199226970

ISBN - 13:9780199226979

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Table of Contents

Part One: Overview1. Descartes, the Synoptic PhilosopherPart Two: Descartes's position in philosophy2. The Cartesian Legacy3. A New Start? Cartesian Metaphysics and the Emergence of Modern PhilosophyPart Three: Mind and World4. Descartes on Thought5. 'The only sure sign . . .' Descartes on Thought and Language6. Intentionality or Phenomenology? Descartes and the Objects of Thought7. Descartes on Colour8. A Brute to the Brutes? Descartes's Treatment of Animals9. Cartesian TrialismPart Four: Ethics and Religion10. The Intellect, the Will and the Passions11. Descartes and the Voluntariness of Belief12. Cartesian Ethics: Reason and the Passions13. The role of God in Descartes's Philosophy14. Descartes as Sage: Spiritual Askesis in Cartesian Philosophy15. Plato's Sun and Descartes's Stove: Contemplation and Control in Cartesian PhilosophyBibliographyIndex