Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Descartes and CartesianismEssays in Honour of Desmond Clarke$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Stephen Gaukroger and Catherine Wilson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198779643

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198779643.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 September 2021

Descartes on the Power of the Soul

Descartes on the Power of the Soul

A Reconsideration

(p.177) 11 Descartes on the Power of the Soul
Descartes and Cartesianism

Denis Kambouchner

Oxford University Press

The chapter challenges the traditional presentation of Descartes’ philosophy as seriously impaired by his supposition that an incorporeal mind can initiate physical changes in the brain and so cause voluntary motion. Although Descartes endured many reproaches from his contemporaries and successors on this score, a careful examination of his terminology of force, power, and virtue indicates that he assuredly did not think of the will as an efficient cause of movement in the brain and limbs. Although he did not articulate an alternative account, his emphasis in the Passions of the Soul is on the integration of soul and body and there are hints that he conceptualized the relationship as one of ‘formal’ rather than ‘efficient’ causality.

Keywords:   René Descartes, power, passions, dualism, voluntary motion

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .