Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Journal of the History of Philosophy Vol. 43, No. 4, October 2005

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Journal of the History of Philosophy Vol. 43, No. 4, October 2005

Article excerpt

Peculiar Perfection: Peter Abelard on Propositional Attitudes, MARTIN LENZ

In the course of the debates on Priscian's notion of the perfect sentence, the philosopher Peter Abelard developed a theory that closely resembles modern accounts of propositional attitudes and that goes far beyond the established Aristotelian conceptions of the sentence. According to Abelard, the perfection of a sentence does not depend on the content that it expresses but on the fact that the content is stated along with the propositional attitude toward the content. This paper tries to provide an analysis and a consistent interpretation of Abelard's arguments within the framework of the mediaeval models of language and mind.

Descartes and Malebranche on Thought, Sensation and the Nature of the Mind, ANTONIA LOLORDO

Malebranche famously objects to Descartes's argument that the nature of the mind is better known than the nature of body as follows: if we had an idea of the mind's nature we would know the possible range of modes of the mind, including the sensory modes, but we do not know those modes and thus cannot have an idea of the mind's nature. This paper argues that Malebranche's objections are readily answerable from within the Cartesian system. This argument involves examining the status of sensations in Descartes, innate ideas, and Malebranche's occasionalism.

Condillac's Paradox, LORNE FALKENSTEIN

This article argues that Condillac was committed to four mutually inconsistent propositions: that the mind is unextended, that sensations are modifications of the mind, that colors are sensations, and that colors are extended. The paper argues that this inconsistency was not just the blunder of a second-rate philosopher but the consequence of a deep-seated tension in the views of early modern philosophers on the nature of the mind, sensation, and secondary qualities, and that more widely studied figures, notably Condillac's contemporaries, Hume and Reid, were not ultimately any more successful at developing an account of vision that unproblematically avoids the paradox. …

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