Prof. Georges Rey – A Naturalistic Cartesianism

May 15, 2013 - May 17, 2013
Abteilung Philosophie, Universität Bielefeld

Universitätsstr. 25
Bielefeld 33615


  • Verein für Philosophie e.V.


Georges Rey
University of Maryland, College Park


Peter Schulte
Universität Bielefeld

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A cluster of “Cartesian” views have traditionally been contrasted with “naturalistic” approaches to the mind. And, of course, what seems to be Descartes’ substance dualism, his theism, and aspects of his foundationalism can certainly try a naturalist’s patience. I have surprised my own naturalistically inclined self, however, by considering a number of ways in which some Cartesian views can be easily accommodated by at least (what I call) a causal-computational/representational approach to thought (CRTT). In these lectures, I’ll sketch some possible accommodations of Cartesian appeals to intuitions, introspections, innate ideas, reason, meanings internal to a mind, and even a Cogito based argument for CRTT itself! I’ll conclude with a sketch, which I call "CRTQ," of how the approach might handle the phenomena of consciousness and qualia that at least modern Cartesians, and Descartes in part, would be wont to defend. But this will involve some scepticism about these phenomena as standardly understood, a scepticism motivated not by the naturalistic approach I defend, but by entirely internal considerations about them. What I hope to achieve in all of this is a more nuanced and precise idea of the “explanatory gap” between the physical and the mental than I find in the recent literature on the issue.

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May 15, 2013, 10:00am CET

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