Descartes's representation of the self (Book, 1993) [WorldCat.org]
skip to content
Descartes's representation of the self Preview this item
ClosePreview this item
Checking...

Descartes's representation of the self

Author: Amy Morgan Schmitter
Publisher: [Pittsburgh, Pa.] : University of Pittsburgh, 1993.
Dissertation: Ph. D. University of Pittsburgh
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : English
Summary:
While Descartes's status as a "representationalist" is often a subject of vehement debate, what exactly he means by "representation" is not. I look to Descartes's early work to show that he first conceives of representation through signification, in which the sign and the signified are isomorphic; on this view, relations of representation can be arbitrary and are to be distinguished from relations of resemblance. I
Rating:

(not yet rated) 0 with reviews - Be the first.

Find a copy in the library

&AllPage.SpinnerRetrieving; Finding libraries that hold this item...

Details

Genre/Form: Academic theses
Material Type: Thesis/dissertation
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Amy Morgan Schmitter
OCLC Number: 223179494
Reproduction Notes: Facsim : University Microfilms International.
Description: 313 pages
Responsibility: by Amy Morgan Schmitter.

Abstract:

While Descartes's status as a "representationalist" is often a subject of vehement debate, what exactly he means by "representation" is not. I look to Descartes's early work to show that he first conceives of representation through signification, in which the sign and the signified are isomorphic; on this view, relations of representation can be arbitrary and are to be distinguished from relations of resemblance. I then examine images (which Descartes considers to be signs) to show the possibility of an image constructing a relation to its viewer, or "subject-position," in which that subject-position fails to display the attributes of extended things. Such a construction might be applied to the "I" of the Meditations--distinct from all extended substances, it nonetheless has direct access to them through its non-objectified sense-ideas.

On this basis, I propose a "model" of representation for ideas: an idea represents its object O to a subject-position S through a vehicle of representation X under some relation R.I argue that this model can explain the uses Descartes makes of "represent," particularly for ideas. But it must be understood properly: Descartes comes to conceive of the vehicle of representation simply as the form taken by the direct interaction of the mind and the things objectively present to it--but a form that can take on a life of its own, giving rise to the possibilities of clarity and distinctness or of confusion in ideas. But what is truly novel about Descartes's conception is the mind's ability to form higher-order representations that represent the conditions of representation itself, thereby achieving certainty for some mental representations without starting from any incorrigible, immediate perceptions.

This possibility is realized most clearly in the understanding of my nature as a thinking and representing being, where I can represent myself as the subject-position distinct from all extended things, but also can represent myself as joyfully and representatively united with a body all my own.

Reviews

User-contributed reviews
Retrieving GoodReads reviews...
Retrieving DOGObooks reviews...

Tags

Be the first.
Confirm this request

You may have already requested this item. Please select Ok if you would like to proceed with this request anyway.

Close Window

Please sign in to WorldCat 

Don't have an account? You can easily create a free account.