Descartes's representation of the self (Livre, 1993) [WorldCat.org]
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Descartes's representation of the self

Auteur : Amy Morgan Schmitter
Éditeur: [Pittsburgh, Pa.] : University of Pittsburgh, 1993.
Dissertation: Ph. D. University of Pittsburgh
Édition/format:   Thèse/dissertation : Thèse/mémoire : Anglais
Résumé:
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
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Détails

Genre/forme: Academic theses
Type d’ouvrage: Thèse/mémoire
Type de document: Livre
Tous les auteurs / collaborateurs: Amy Morgan Schmitter
Numéro OCLC: 223179494
Notes de reproduction: Facsim : University Microfilms International.
Description: 313 pages
Responsabilité: by Amy Morgan Schmitter.

Résumé:

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.

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