By H. Ben-Yami
Ben-Yami exhibits how the know-how of Descartes' time shapes his perception of existence, soul and mind–body dualism; how Descartes' analytic geometry is helping him enhance his innovative perception of illustration with out resemblance; and the way those principles mix to form his new and influential conception of belief.
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Additional info for Descartes’ Philosophical Revolution: A Reassessment
42) ensures that it does not hide any contradiction (Light, AT XI 36). By contrast to the atomist tradition, Descartes does not ascribe to his matter any basic property of being, solidity or the filling of space, which would distinguish it from empty space. Similarly, in contrast Descartes’ Theory of Perception 27 to the Scholastic tradition, he does not admit any primary matter or substratum. 20 Descartes’ claim, that the sensory qualities are not as clearly conceived as are the geometrical properties, is quite remarkable.
In fact, his theory of perception, on all its seven points listed above, was almost unanimously accepted. And it is a revolutionary theory, which deeply changed philosophy and science, and has practically become part and parcel of the modern worldview. The respects in which it discontinues earlier traditions will be examined in the next section. 3 The innovation in Descartes’ theory of perception Descartes’ theory of perception – and by that I mean the theory consisting of the seven theses listed in the former sections – has had a huge influence on philosophy and science, from his times to our day.
The transfer of these qualities to the mind by Descartes made it possible to claim that this does not entail a contradiction. On the one hand, we are directly aware of the sensory qualities in our mind, and not of the things in the material world that they represent; and these sensory qualities do not resemble what they represent. Yet the representation can be adequate even without resemblance, and therefore we need not be under any illusion or ignorant about the perceived world. We thus hold a coherent, non-sceptical metaphysical position, which fits the modern scientific conception of matter.
Descartes’ Philosophical Revolution: A Reassessment by H. Ben-Yami