Descartes Day III

October 15, 2016, University of Pittsburgh

Descartes Day III is a one-day Descartes workshop featuring renowned Descartes scholars from around the country (and internationally.) It will be the third in a series of similar workshops previously held at Princeton and Pitt beginning in 2004.

We plan for DD3 to truly be a workshop.  NO papers will be given.  It will be all about discussion, with the day broken into discussion topics. The topics tentatively are:

  1. Descartes on causality: was Descartes an occasionalist on mind/body interaction? On body/body interactions? Did Descartes think that bodies or minds have genuine causal efficacy[or active causal powers]? For body-body, consider and compare relevant texts in The World, in the Principles. And for mind body attend to claims in the Passions and De Homine.
  2. Why was the cogito important to Descartes? To what extent was he concerned about subjectivity and the subject? To what extent is he committed to a purely cognitive mind or souk vs. a soul that functions as in ways related to body [perhaps an animal soul enabling self-motion, etc.]. Big contrast here is probably betweenMeditations and Passions (and De Homine & Optics)
  3. What exactly is Cartesian dualism? [how do body & mind work in producing the motions?] Relate this to Descartes and teleology: Meditation VI and beyond. How does the causality of sensation, perceptual judgment and volitional action work?  Can we outline the pathways and kinds of connections between the stages?  What role do innate ideas play?
  4. What exactly does ‘mechanism’ mean when applied to Descartes? How is it related to   Descartes’ concept of natural philosophy Does he have or envision a project of mathematical natural philosophy?
  5. Is rationalism an appropriate category for Descartes? For anyone? [even by contrast with “empiricism”?]

Text references in these topics are meant only as suggestions.  Discussion is not and should not be confined to the suggested texts.

Discussion is limited to the invited participants.  BUT interested auditors are welcome, and will have a brief chance to speak at the end of the day.  Auditors MUST register in advance.  The number of auditors is very limited. See above for registration information.

Organizing Committee
Peter K. Machamer (University of Pittsburgh)
Daniel Garber (Princeton University)

The Center for Philosophy of Science

Posted: August 29, 2016