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Descartes’s Dreams

Imagination in the "Meditations</I>


Ann Scholl

Ann Scholl revises the traditional understanding of the role of imagination and sensory perception in Descartes’s Meditations. Traditionally, Cartesian scholars have focused primarily on sensory perception as the more significant of the two «special» modes of thought. In this work, Ann Scholl describes how a better understanding of Descartes’s skepticism and his arguments for dualism are reached when imagination instead is understood as the more primary of the two special modes of thought. The result is a fresh reading and interpretation of Descartes’s most influential work.


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Acknowledgments vii


Acknowledgments I owe a number of people for their support in writing this book. First, to my graduate professors, especially Nelson Potter, Harry Ide, Joseph Mendola and Robert Audi for their numerous and helpful commentaries on this work. I also am deeply grateful to Pauline Phemister for eliciting my interest in modern philosophy and Descartes in general. I particularly owe her thanks for inform- ing me that understanding Descartes’s views on sensory perception and imagi- nation first require reading and understanding scholastic theories. Unfortu- nately, Professor Phemister was correct, and her advice served me well. I also owe thanks to my former colleagues at Creighton University for their helpful and numerous comments. Their support while writing this work was invalu- able. Portions of this work have been read at numerous conferences and I am in- debted to the helpful comments I received from Dennis Sepper in particular and the participants in these conferences. These conferences include The Cen- tral States Philosophy Conference of 1999 and Minnesota State Philosophical Association Annual Meeting of 1999. I am especially grateful for the kindly worded corrections given to me by John Cottingham regarding his own inter- pretations of Descartes at the International Descartes Conference in Spain of 2004. Many revisions of this text are due to the helpful conversations and commentary I enjoyed with all participants at this conference. I have particu- larly benefited from the commentary by Larry Nolan and his sharing his work on Descartes’s early work of imagination. Special thanks goes...

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