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The Light of the SoulTheories of Ideas in Leibniz, Malebranche, and Descartes$
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Nicholas Jolley

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198238195

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198238193.001.0001

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Innate Ideas

(p.32) 3 Descartes
The Light of the Soul

Nicholas Jolley (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

It is well known that Descartes revived the ancient doctrine of innate ideas. However, it is doubtful whether Descartes advanced a single doctrine that employs the same concept of innateness throughout. We shall see that Descartes appeals to innate ideas in response to a number of different philosophical questions; he invokes them not just in his account of a priori knowledge but also in connection with his anti‐Scholastic theory of perception and his strange doctrine of the creation of the eternal truths. We shall see further that Descartes's position on innate ideas was accepted as it stands by none of his rationalist successors, and that at the centre of subsequent debate was the nature of ideas themselves.

Keywords:   causation, Comments on a Certain Broadsheet, Descartes, disposition, dispositional property, eternal truths, innate ideas, intellectual ideas, perception

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