Causation and Similarity in Descartes
Gorham (Geoffrey)
Source: Gennaro (Rocco) & Huenemann (Charles) - New Essays on the Rationalists, February 2003 , pp. 296-310(15)
Paper - Abstract

Paper StatisticsDisclaimer


Ingenta Abstract

    Descartes believed that causation1 is intelligible only if the cause and effect are similar, since it is impossible to understand how the reality of an effect can owe anything to the reality of its cause if the two have nothing in common. I argue first that Descartes has a coherent and reasonably strong metaphysical justification for his condition of causal similarity. Second, I defend Descartes from the charge that his conception of similarity renders the condition trivial by making practically everything similar to everything else. Third, I discuss the familiar objection that if the similarity condition is not trivial, then it is incompatible with Cartesian mind–body interaction. I argue that the condition is consistent with, and indeed explains, Descartes's late view of interaction.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



© Theo Todman, June 2007 - Sept 2018. Please address any comments on this page to theo@theotodman.com. File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page