Descartes, Malebranche, and the Crisis of Perception (Hardback)
  • Descartes, Malebranche, and the Crisis of Perception (Hardback)
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Descartes, Malebranche, and the Crisis of Perception (Hardback)

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Hardback 272 Pages / Published: 04/05/2017
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The seventeenth century witnesses the demise of two core doctrines in the theory of perception: naive realism about color, sound, and other sensible qualities and the empirical theory, drawn from Alhacen and Roger Bacon, which underwrote it. This created a problem for seventeenth century philosophers: how is that we use qualities such as color, feel, and sound to locate objects in the world, even though these qualities are not real? Ejecting such sensible qualities from the mind-independent world at once makes for a cleaner ontology, since bodies can now be understood in purely geometrical terms, and spawns a variety of fascinating complications for the philosophy of perception. If sensible qualities are not part of the mind-independent world, just what are they, and what role, if any, do they play in our cognitive economy? We seemingly have to use color to visually experience objects. Do we do so by inferring size, shape, and motion from color? Or is it a purely automatic operation, accomplished by divine decree? This volume traces the debate over perceptual experience in early modern France, covering such figures as Antoine Arnauld, Robert Desgabets, and Pierre-Sylvain Regis alongside their better-known countrymen Rene Descartes and Nicolas Malebranche.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198791713
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 432 g
Dimensions: 223 x 148 x 22 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
[Walter Ott's] work is commendable for the very careful attention he pays to the texts. ... the picture that Ott draws, of an optimistic theory of perception, based squarely on a view of what the physical world is like and how it operates, that gradually, as the need for ever more complicated mental processes unfold, lost contact with that physical world, is a fascinating one, and Ott's book deserves the same close and careful study he himself put into it. * Margaret Atherton, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews *
This is an original, stimulating, and illuminating study of the problem of perception in Descartes and later French Cartesians. It is a valuable if controversialin the good sensecontribution to continuing debates over the role of ideas and the nature of "representation" in early modern philosophy of mind. * Steven Nadler, Journal of the History of Philosophy *

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