Ideas and Mechanism: Essays on Early Modern Philosophy

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Princeton University Press, 1999 - Philosophy - 524 pages

For more than three decades, Margaret Wilson's essays on early modern philosophy have influenced scholarly debate. Many are considered classics in the field and remain as important today as they were when they were first published. Until now, however, they have never been available in book form and some have been particularly difficult to find. This collection not only provides access to nearly all of Wilson's most significant work, but also demonstrates the continuity of her thought over time. These essays show that Wilson possesses a keen intelligence, coupled with a fearlessness in tackling the work of early modern philosophers as well as the writing of modern commentators. Many of the pieces collected here respond to philosophical issues of continuing importance.

The thirty-one essays gathered here deal with some of the best known early philosophers, including Descartes, Leibniz, Locke, Spinoza, and Berkeley. As this collection shows, Wilson is a demanding critic. She repeatedly asks whether the philosophers' arguments were adequate to the problems they were trying to solve and whether these arguments remain compelling today. She is not afraid to engage in complex argument but, at the same time, her own writing remains clear and fresh. Ideas and Mechanism is an essential collection of work by one of the leading scholars of our era.

Originally published in 1999.

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Contents

Skepticism without Indubitability
3
Descartes on Sense and Resemblance
10
Descartes on the Perception of Primary Qualities
26
Descartes on the Origin of Sensation
41
Descartes on the Representationality of Sensation
69
Descartes The Epistemological Argument for MindBody Distinctness
84
True and Immutable Natures
94
Can I Be the Cause of My Idea of the World? Descartes on the Infinite and Indefinite
108
The Issue of Common Sensibles in Berkeleys New Theory of Vision
257
Kant and The Dogmatic Idealism of Berkeley
276
The Phenomenalisms of Berkeley and Kant
294
The Phenomenalisms of Leibniz and Berkeley
306
Confused Ideas
322
Confused vs Distinct Perception in Leibniz Consciousness Representation and Gods Mind
336
Leibniz and Locke on First Truths
353
Leibniz SelfConsciousness and Immortality in the Paris Notes and After
373

Objects Ideas and Minds Comments on Spinozas Theory of Mind
126
Spinozas Causal Axiom Ethics I Axiom 4
141
Infinite Understanding Scientia Intuitiva and Ethics 116
166
For They Do Not Agree in Nature with Us Spinoza on the Lower Animals
178
Superadded Properties The Limits of Mechanism in Locke
196
Discussion Superadded Properties A Reply to M R Ayers
209
Did Berkeley Completely Misunderstand the Basis of the PrimarySecondary Quality Distinction in Locke?
215
Berkeley on the MindDependence of Colors
229
Berkeley and the Essences of the Corpuscularians
243
Leibniz and Materialism
388
Possible Gods
407
Leibnizs Dynamics and Contingency in Nature
421
Compossibility and Law
442
History of Philosophy in Philosophy Today and the Case of the Sensible Qualities
455
Animal Ideas
495
SOURCES AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
513
INDEX
514
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