By Peter A. Schouls

ISBN-10: 0198246137

ISBN-13: 9780198246138

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Additional info for The Imposition of Method: A Study of Descartes and Locke

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Then it no longer designates a movement, but rather the completion of a movement, and there­ fore we suppose that it is presented to us by intuition when it is simple and clear, but not when it is complex and involved' (HR1, 33; AT10, 407-8). As the context makes clear, the use of'simple' in this passage does not aUow us to infer that the object of intui­ tion is non-compound and non-divisible. Rather, we are being told that the material is sufficiendy non-complex for it to be apprehended in one intuition.

Frankfurt's 'Descartes' Validation of Reason'. See Willis Doney, op. j pp. 209-26; first published in American PhilosophicalQuarterly, Vol. I I , No. ;2, 1965. Cf. esp. pp. 218 ff. in Doney's volume. 1 INTUITION AND DEDUCTION 35 unable to account for systematic knowledge. Furthermore, i f reason were identical with intuition, the problem ofthe vaHdation of reason would never have arisen for Descartes. Indeed, he wouki have had additional reasons for considering the hypothesis of the evil genius of Meditation I to be meaningless.

When we consider what characterizes the objects of intuition mentioned so far, it is clear that they are aU either what Descartes caUs simple ideas, or else what he caUs propositions known per se. Whatever is deduced is compounded from other, simple(r) elements; hence whatever is deduced can be divided or analysed into, or defined in terms of, its simple(r) components. These objects of intuition, however, cannot themselves become known through a further process of division or analysis. Of the simple ideas it is said that 'no definitions are to be used in explaining things of this kind lest we should take what is complex in place ofwhat is simple' (HR1,46; AT10,426); they are therefore 'known per se' (HR1, 42; AT10, 420).

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The Imposition of Method: A Study of Descartes and Locke by Peter A. Schouls


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