Treatise on the Human Mind (1666)

Treatise on the Human Mind (1666)

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Descartes' philosophy represented one of the most explicit statements of mind-body dualism in the history of philosophy. Its most familiar expression is found in the Meditations (1641) and in Part I of The Principles 0/ Philosophy (1644). However neither of these books provided a detailed discussion of dualism. The Meditations was primarily concerned with finding a foundation for reliable human knowledge, while the Principles attempted to provide an alternative metaphysical framework, in contrast with scholastic philosophy, within which natural philosophy or a scien- tific explanation of natural phenomena could be developed. Thus neither book ex- plicitly presents a Cartesian theory of the mind nor does either give a detailed account of how, if dualism were accepted, mind and body would interact. The task of articulating such a theory was left to two further works, only one of which was completed by Descartes, viz. the Treatise on Man (published posthumously in 1664). The Treatise began with the following sentence, describing the hypothetical human beings who were to be explained in that work: 'These human beings will be com- posed, as we are, of a soul and a body; and, first of all, I must describe the body for you separately; then, also separately, the soul; and fmally I must show you how these two natures would have to be joined and united to constitute human beings resembling us.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 246 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 17.53mm | 578g
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • 1997 ed.
  • XXV, 246 p.
  • 0792347781
  • 9780792347781

Table of contents

Note on the Text and Translation. Abbreviations. Introduction. Preface. 1. Plan and Division of the Treatise. 2. The Nature of the Human Mind, and that it is Easier to Know than the Body. 3. Everything which Thinks is Immaterial. 4. Proof of the Same Thesis, against those who Admit both Bodily and Spiritual Substances. 5. Another Proof, Against Those who Admit Only Bodily Substances. 6. Everything which Thinks, Thinks Continuously as Long as it Exists. 7. The Mind is Immortal. 8. The Faculties which are Inseparable from the Mind, and Those Which are Specific to the Human Mind. 9. Knowledge in General. 10. Corporeal Species, and Intellectual Ideas or Notions. 11. The Will. 12. The Mind Considered with Respect to Duration and Place. 13. How, in General, the Mind and Body can be United. 14. How the Human Mind and Body are Specifically United; and What Informs us About their Union. 15. The Causes and Articles of this Union, and its Principal Location. 16. How the Mind and Body Act on Each Other, and How One Body Moves Another. 17. The Nature and Diversity of the Soul's Sensations. 18. The Imagination. 19. Memory and Recollection. 20. Understanding, Reasoning and Speech. 21. The Emotions of the Will. 22. The Origin of the Natural Inclinations and Aversions which are Caused Exclusively by the Body. 23. The Higher and Lower Parts of the Soul or of the Human Mind. 24. Pleasure and Pain. 25. The State of the Soul after Death. 26. What is the Supreme Good for Human Beings in this Life? 27. The Principal Source of Our Mistakes, and the Means of Avoiding Them. 28. General Remedies for the Impetuosity of the Passions and the Adversities of Fortune. Index.
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