DESCARTES' COMPOSITIONAL THEORY OF MENTAL REPRESENTATION
Version of Record online: 11 MAY 2011
© 2011 The Author. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly © 2011 University of Southern California and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Pacific Philosophical Quarterly
Volume 92, Issue 2, pages 214–231, June 2011
How to Cite
LANDY, D. (2011), DESCARTES' COMPOSITIONAL THEORY OF MENTAL REPRESENTATION. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 92: 214–231. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0114.2011.01394.x
- Issue online: 11 MAY 2011
- Version of Record online: 11 MAY 2011
In his, ‘Descartes' Ontology of Thought’, Alan Nelson presents, on Descartes' behalf, a compositional theory of mental representation according to which the content of any mental representation is either simple or is entirely constituted by a combination of innate simples. Here the simples are our ideas of God, thought, extension, and union. My objection will be that it is simply ludicrous to think that any four simples are adequate to the task of combining to constitute all of human thought, and that the simples God, thought, extension, and union are particularly ill suited to it.