The turn of the millennium has been marked by new developments in the study of early modern philosophy. In particular, the philosophy of René Descartes has been reinterpreted in a number of important and exciting ways, specifically concerning his work on the mind-body union, the connection between objective and formal reality, and his status as a moral philosopher. These fresh interpretations have coincided with a renewed interest in overlooked parts of the Cartesian corpus and a sustained focus on the similarities between Descartes’ thought and the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza.
Mind, Body, and Morality consists of fifteen chapters written by scholars who have contributed significantly to the new turn in Descartes and Spinoza scholarship. The volume is divided into three parts. The first group of chapters examines different metaphysical and epistemological problems raised by the Cartesian mind-body union. Part II investigates Descartes’ and Spinoza’s understanding of the relations between ideas, knowledge, and reality. Special emphasis is put on Spinoza’s conception of the relation between activity and passivity. Finally, the last part explores different aspects of Descartes’ moral philosophy, connecting his views to important predecessors, Augustine and Abelard, and comparing them to Spinoza.
Table of Contents
Martina Reuter and Frans Svensson
Part I: Cartesian Persons
2. The Metaphysics of Cartesian Persons
3. The Gender of the Cartesian Mind, Body, and Mind-Body Union
4. "I certainly seem to see" – Embodiment in the Second Meditation
Part II: Ideas, Knowledge, and Reality
5. Ideas and Reality in Descartes
Peter Myrdal and Arto Repo
6. Spinoza’s Three Kinds of Cognition: Imagination, Understanding, and Definition and Essence
7. Mind-Body Interaction and Unity in Spinoza
8. Spinoza and the Inferential Nature of Thought
9. Self-Consciousness and Consciousness of Self: Spinoza on Desire and Pride
10. Spinoza on Activity and Passivity: The Problematic Definition Revisited
Part III: Will, Virtue, and Love
11. Teleology and Descartes’ Problem of Error
12. Descartes’ Generosité
13. A Cartesian Distinction in Virtue: Moral and Perfect
14. Spinoza and the Cartesian Definition of Love
15. Self and Will in Descartes’s Account of Love
Martina Reuter is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.
Frans Svensson is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics, and Theory of Science at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.