Idea And Ontology: An Essay In Early Modern Metaphysics Of Ideas

Paperback | January 21, 2013

byMarc A. Hight

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The prevailing view about the history of early modern philosophy, which the author dubs “the early modern tale” and wants to convince us is really a fairy tale, has it that the focus on ideas as a solution to various epistemological puzzles, first introduced by Descartes, created difficulties for the traditional ontological scheme of substance and mode. The early modern tale depicts the development of “the way of ideas” as abandoning ontology at least by the time of Berkeley. This, in turn, fostered an antimetaphysical bias as modern philosophy developed further, elevating epistemology to its current primary status in the field.

Marc Hight challenges this account by showing how, though the conception of ideas changed over time, the ontological status of ideas remained a central part of the discussion about ideas and influenced how even later thinkers like Locke, Berkeley, and Hume thought about them. By his reading of important texts in early modern philosophy, Hight aims not only to provide a more accurate history of philosophy for this period but also to resuscitate the value of metaphysics for philosophical analysis today.

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The prevailing view about the history of early modern philosophy, which the author dubs “the early modern tale” and wants to convince us is really a fairy tale, has it that the focus on ideas as a solution to various epistemological puzzles, first introduced by Descartes, created difficulties for the traditional ontological scheme of s...

Marc A. Hight is Elliott Associate Professor of Philosophy at Hampden-Sydney College.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:296 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.66 inPublished:January 21, 2013Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271058773

ISBN - 13:9780271058771

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Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments

List of Abbreviations

Introduction: Idea Ontology and the Early Modern Tale

1. The Traditional Ontology

1.1 Substance

1.2 Modes

1.3 What Is an Idea?

1.4 Stretching Idea Ontologies

2. Descartes

2.1 Representation

2.2 Perception, Ideas, and Images

2.3 Innate Ideas, Dispositions, and Causes

2.4 The Complications of the Passions

3. The Cartesians: Malebranche and Arnauld

3.1 Malebranche’s Theory of Ideas

3.2 Substantializing Ideas

3.3 Attacking Modes

3.4 A New Ontology?

3.5 Arnauld’s Theory of Ideas

3.6 Critique of Malebranche

3.7 The Cartesian Debate

4. Locke

4.1 Locke “Deontologized”

4.2 Lennon’s Locke

4.3 Locke’s Contemporaries

4.4 Locke’s Implicit Ontology

5. Leibniz

5.1 Resolving a “Tension”

5.2 Ideas as Dispositions

5.3 Reading Leibniz

5.4 Ideas: Being One vs. Having One

5.5 Innate Ideas

5.6 Difficulties with Dispositions

5.7 Ideas as Modes

6. Berkeley

6.1 Minds and Ideas

6.2 Ideas as Objects

6.3 Ideas as Modes

6.4 Qualities

6.5 Unperceived Existence

6.6 Phenomenalism

6.7 Berkeley and the Early Modern Tale

7. Divine Ideas

7.1 Divine Ideas and Archetypes

7.2 “In” the Mind of God

7.3 Permutations

7.4 Defending Berkeley’s Theory of Divine Ideas

7.5 Fleeting Ideas

8. Abstraction and Heterogeneity

8.1 Abstract Ideas

8.2 Kinds of Abstraction

8.3 Berkeley’s Attack

8.4 Berkeley’s Solution: General Ideas

8.5 Perceptual Heterogeneity

8.6 The Molyneux Thought Experiment

8.7 The Argument from Difference in Content

8.8 Adding Visible and Tangible Lines

8.9 Heterogeneity and the Nature of Ideas

8.10 Ontology to Heterogeneity

9. Hume and Idea Ontology

9.1 Perceptions as Substances

9.2 Dependent Perceptions

9.3 Concluding Remarks: The Demise of the Early Modern Tale

References

Index

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