You are on page 1of 20

International Phenomenological Society

Descartes's Arguments for Mind-Body Distinctness
Author(s): Steven J. Wagner
Source: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 43, No. 4 (Jun., 1983), pp. 499-517
Published by: International Phenomenological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2107644 .
Accessed: 24/04/2013 11:23
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .
http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

.
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of
content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms
of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

.

International Phenomenological Society is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

http://www.jstor.org

This content downloaded from 147.91.246.195 on Wed, 24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM
All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Philosophy
and Phenomenological
Research

Vol. XLIII, No. 4, June i983

Descartes'sArguments
for
Mind-BodyDistinctness
STEVEN J. WAGNER

University
of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

I was of threeminds,
Like a tree
In whichthereare threeblackbirds.
Wallace Stevens

Descartes's definitionsof mind as any thingwhich thinksand body as
any extendedthingleftentirelyopen the question of mind-bodyidentity' (AT VII, i6i; HR II, 53).' His negative answer was probably
rootedin a sense of the limitsof mechanisticexplanation(W, -77-85),
but we may guess thathe foundno rigorousargumentalong such lines,
forhis attemptedproofsof dualismproceededquite differently.
Here is
one of the two given in his most carefullyargued work, the Meditations:
. . . because I know that all that I clearlyand distinctlyunderstandcan be made by
God as I understandit,it is enoughthatI can clearlyand distinctly
understandone thing
apart fromanotherforme to be sure thatone is diversefromthe other,because God at
leastcan place themapart; and it does not matterby what power thisis done, forthemto
be judged diverse.And thus,fromthisveryfactthatI know I exist,and meanwhilenotice
nothingclearlyto pertainto mynatureor essence,exceptthisalone, thatI am a thinking

In some passages mind is called a ("real") propertyof body (AT III, 667-68, PL,
138-39; AT VII, 441-4z;
HR II, 254-55). This in some ways veryinsightful
move is
simplyinconsistentwiththe officialposition.That Descartesmade it underconsiderable pressuremay be seen fromhis uncharacteristically
outrageousaccount of where
our idea of gravitycomes fromat HR II, z55.
Referencesare to be decoded as follows.HR = Haldane and Ross, The Philosophical
AT =
Works of Descartes, z vols. (Cambridge: CambridgeUniversityPress, I977);
PL = A.
AdamandTannery,
Oeuvres de Descartes, I1 vols.(Paris:Cerf,i897-1913);
Kenny,Descartes: PhilosophicalLetters(Oxford: Clarendon,1970); CB = J.Cottingham, Descartes's Conversationwith Burman (Oxford: Clarendon, 1976); W = M.
Wilson,Descartes (London, Henley and Boston: Routledgeand Kegan Paul, 1978); S
= S. Schiffer,
"Descartes on His Essence," PhilosophicalReview 85, I (January1976).
I will cite AT only in the firstreferenceto a passage.

DESCARTES

AND MIND-BODY

DISTINCTNESS

This content downloaded from 147.91.246.195 on Wed, 24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM
All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

499

. nor in thestandardbooks by Beck (The Meta- physicsof Descartes [Oxford:Clarendon.it is certainthatI am really distinctfrommy body and can existwithoutit (AT VII. althoughI will concentrateon the singleformDiv takes at HR I. indebtedto all of the literature. . Kenny(Descartes [New York: Random House. however. An analysiswhichmakes (G') equally critical to Div followsin SectionII.i965]).For when I consider my mind.mind however clearlyindivisible. . . "Descartes's Denial of Mind-Body Identity"in Hooker.Div is not discussedin W.I can distinguish understandmyselfas somethingone and entire. cit. i96). 78. This is not quite to say that they have one basic structure. if I did not know thiswell enoughalready(AT VII.not extended.While Sep has been intensivelystudied. insofaras I am onlya thinkingthing.91. (G') itselfis rootedin his basic confusion. [New York: Penguin.) So mytask is at once to unifyDescartes's argumentsand to establishhis fundamental ambivalence.will not referto it as oftenas it deserves. .Clear representatives sidered below are S and Hooker..and will economize by assumingpoints I take to have been settledthere. op. (I believethatthesame ambiguityarisesin Div. WAGNER This content downloaded from 147. 85-86. It is Descartes's announcement that classical approachesto the mind-bodyproblemfail. nor in Hooker's anthologyof currentCartesianscholarship(Descartes [Baltimoreand London: JohnsHopkins.Yet I will gestssome difference argue that theyare essentiallyalike. SectionI introducesboth formsof Sep.1978]). butclearly myselfinsofaras I am just a thinkingthing. Deep tensionsled Descartesto offerand confusetwo incompatibleversions of Sep. I shall call thisthe separabilityargument(Sep). or no partsin myself. in that body is by its nature . HR I. entirelydifferent HR I.I rightlyconclude that my whole essence consistsin this one thing.yet I conclude by observingthat the use of thispremiserepresentsa profound advance. On the otherhand thereis no corporeal or extendedthingwhich I cannot readilydivide in thoughtand which I do not therefore understandas being divisible. 500 STEVEN J. It is mentionedin S only as an "ancillaryargument.246. because mysecond mainpointwill be thatthe two traditionally opposed accountsof God's role in Sep are both right.and on theotherhand a distinctidea of body insofaras it is only an extendedthing.thing. 24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .195 on Wed. i968])." The worksjust citedprovidea good samplingof criticalapproachesto Sep and conof the two main views of Sep to be contain furtherreferences. SectionIII explainsDescartes's ambiguous presentationof Sep. . I am. .not thinking. and Williams (Descartes. The otherone I call the divisibility argument(Div): betweenmind and body. i90).This would be enough to teach me thatmindis frombody. 1978]). 3 For example. i96.' which certainlysugin theinterestor forceof thetwo proofs. thereis a great difference always divisible. One problemabout these-argumentsis theirrelation. thendevelopsthe one found in the Meditationswith particularattentionto its distinctivepremise about God's veracity((G')).even if theyare still controversial.that I am a thinkingthing . some of the other literatureis more confused. because on the one hand I have a clear and distinctidea of myself.Div has been ignored.

it seems. Descartes startswith the more modest conceptionof mind. him.the possibilityof an extendedmind is in no way ruledout. But accordingto a second reading(B). Descartes's conceptionis simplysilent thought.I. Descartes's conceptionof mind certainlyincludesthe c & d perceptionthatmindsthink.and the like. or does an immodestconceptionof mindenable himto get by withless theology?Our choice heredependson resolving an ambiguityin Cartesianclaimsto conceivemindapart frombody.God does not just validate a perceptionof distinctness.to the c & d conceptionof mind attainedin the Second Meditation. Descartes'sconception of mind in the Second Meditationalreadyincludesa c & d perception that minds are not extendedor that thoughtis the only propertyof leave Descartes with very minds.whileit onlyattributes extension.The main question about Sep can be put in termsof a trade-off:does Descartes relyon a modest conceptionof mind plus a strongappeal to God. establishedin theFourth of clear and distinct(henceforth Meditation. 138).thedistinctionbetweenmindand body is immediateif mindsare not extended. doespertain really DESCARTES AND MIND-BODY DISTINCTNESS This content downloaded from 147.to minds. Of course these two interpretations amounts of work to do in the followingMeditations. nothing clearly that] [Ihaveargued the I shallshowhow.from thatI wasa thinking thing. The A readingseems trueto the Meditations.whichI shall call theA reading.In this versionof the arguWithout ment.thatis all thereis to it. Modal principleswould thenlead frompossibleto actual (or even necessary)non-extension. factthatI knownothing elsewhich pertains toit (ATVII.If thatis what Descartes perceivesin the Second Meditation.all thatcould remainwould be for God to assure him of the truthof his c & d perceptions. Butinwhatfollows except else thatnothing itfollows to myessence..8. The SeparabilityArgument by applyingGod's "validation" Descartesinfersmind-bodydistinctness c & d) ideas..If. he must inferdualismfromthefactthatthisconceptionomitsextension.246. considerableevidencebears on the choice between Not surprisingly. however.195 on Wed. as possible Let us reviewas briefly thesequite divergentinterpretations.Once different bodies are definedas extendedthings. HR I.firstneed God's guaranteethatif (undercertain conditions)I do not see that mindsare extended. 24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 50I .to conceivehimselfonly as a thinkingthing.On the modestconstrual.Accordingto the Pref- ace: tomyessence.not about whethermindsare extended. topertain I knew as faras I wasaware.To this end he would.91.even a perceptionof the objectivepossibilityof unextendedminds cannot be achieved. and Descartes would have no way to progress beyonda confessionof ignoranceabout the extensionof minds.each mindis at least possiblynot a body. the argumentsforeach side.

WAGNER This content downloaded from 147. (I give a closer analysisbelow. zz6.is to permitDescartes'stransitionfroma limitedconceptionof mindto a modal propositionabout mindand body.yet fromon high. and that only "hyperbolical"doubts about this conclusionwere removedin the subsequentdiscussion(AT VII. stillneeds confirmation Giventhisevidence. however. If mind-bodydistinctnessor propositions entailingit are c & d perceivedin the Second Meditation.91. z7. i63. HR I. 59.195 on Wed. 59. HR I. and thiscomes to the same thing.or at least something close to it.Noteworthyin thisrespectare some passages fromtheFourthReplies (but see also AT AT VII.An ordinaryproofresultsin the c & d perceptionof its conclusion.) Conceiving"mind apart frombody" should mean forminga conceptionof mind which does not attributeextensionto minds.g. i69-70.And indeed. III. HR II. HR II. CB xxvi-xxxii). . AT VII. 477-78. zi9. cf. HR II.we should read it roughlyas follows. CB. then.thepsychology and theologyof the next two Meditations are entirelyunnecessary. I should add thatbesidesfitting theMeditations.dualismis c & d perceivedin the Second Meditation.he claimsto have seen near the startthatit is possible formindsto exist unextended(AT VII.Descartes'sgoal of provingthedistinctionbetweenmindand bodyhas been (or can be) reachedthenand there. 96-97.On that view. PL Iz5.but in the lightof what has gone before. z56-57.one is temptedto tracethe B readingto wishful thinkingby latter-daydualists. I76..fromwhichdualismis supposed to follow withoutdivineassistance. and c & d perceptioncompletelyestablishesa proposition. theFourthMeditationemphasizesagain thatthequestionof dualism is stillopen (AT VII.e.Accordingto the A reading.the 502 STEVEN J. Since these are some of the most dubious and dated aspects of Cartesianism. someone sympatheticto Descartes's conclusions mightwell hope that he perceivedmind-bodydistinctness. Descartes'smeaningin the SixthMeditation(HR I. ioi-z).246. AT VII. I76. Descartes assertstherethat mind-bodydistinctnesswas already perceivedin the Second Meditation. 64). HR II. Thus divine veracityis generallynot a premise in Descartes's proofs. God is needed to validate only propositionswe rememberc & d perceivingbut do not so perceive now. 444-45.But on theB reading. earlyon..genuinesupportfortheB reading. I 5z). There is. . AT V.Amongotherthings.all Descartessays in the Second Meditationis thatnothing but thoughtcan thusfarbe knownto belongto him (AT VII. HR II. i90) is unclear by itself. forthe proofleadingto thatperceptionmightstill be usable or easilyrevised. z8). 24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 59). What God then guaranteesis that minds can exist withoutextension(". A fewpages earlier. and the actual distinctnessof mind and body is inferredfromthispossibility."). HR I. God at least can place them apart . cf.theA readingis also in linewitha now justlyascendantview of theproblemof theCircle(W I3I-35.The role of God. . I40-4I. .This is the essenceof the A reading. I3.

extensionfrommy c & d concept of.91.Now our confidencein propositionswe c & d perceiveis warrantedjust because c & d perceptionis the resultof a proof. Generalized. our job is to avoid errorbywithholdingassent.Nothingmore. I think.Althoughthis generalizationmightbe restrictedin orderto block patentlyabsurd results(as will occur in our transition from(G) to (G') below).)Buttheabsenceof.it is thereforeentirelycorrectforGod to validatemyconceptin the sense of assuringme thatF musthave whateverpropertiesI attributedto it.(Even thoughI could hardlyfailto recalltheproofof that.supposedlythebestsourcefortheA reading!So we face a complexinterpretive task.I need have no proofthatmindslack extension.God cannot. it is just irreparablyunreasonable. This does not reducethe problemsof the B reading. . theseare presumablyas available in the Second Meditationas theyare lateron. be expectedto validateDescartes'signorance.its rival's agreementwith Descartes's general epistemologyand theologyis reduced by a problem about the divine guarantee.and it would be proper for God to assure me that minds are thinkingthings. The beliefshe validates are supportedby the best possible evidence: generallyby proof.so thoughtis containedin my c & d concept of mind.I may even have no shredof an argumentthat mindscan exist withoutit.but it does sugeven if the congestthatthe A readingwould not be straightforward trarypassages in the FourthReplies and elsewherecould be dismissed or explained away (as theycannot).and DESCARTES AND MIND-BODY DISTINCTNESS This content downloaded from 147.In all othercases.althoughour beliefin the externalworld is "only" supposedto be irrefutable and highlyevident. It is of the essence of the Meditationsthat God is no rubberstamp.246.one mightsay. I have proved that minds think. mind means only that (howevercarefullyand clear-headedlyI considerthe matter)I lack a proofconnectingthispropertyto minds. .actuallyis) a fundamentalblunder. We mustexplain whytwo versionsof Sep appealed to Descartes in spite of theirlack of fitwithhis system. Since this is a crucial point. 24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 503 . say.195 on Wed. say.When my c & d conceptof a certainthingF has shown me certainproperties. And of course God has no business guaranteeinga propositionfor which I have not the least argument. I wish to explainit withcare. thosewerejustthepropertiesI demonstratedF to have. Anotherpuzzle is that those passages are offeredas elaborationsor paraphrasesof the argumentin the Meditations.it would let Descartes believe whateverhe findshimself unable to refute. because God at least . For example. In furtherdefenseof the B reading.").basic work is done once thispossibilityis established("[I am] surethat one is diverse from the other.So forDescartesto infereven thepossiblenonextensionof minds froma conception which merelydoes not representthem as being extendedwould be (and. and althoughDescarteswill stillneed some auxiliarymodal principles(such as (NE) below) in order correctlyto prove distinctness.

cit. (C) [As above. tionsof anymindor body. failsto attribute thought (2. Thatis. Descartes'sconcernwiththeessenceofmindand body.i) Everybodyis extended.however.Of suppressed coursehe extends(C) to non-actualmindsand bodies.z) describing truthsbeing(alleged)necessary concepBut formypurposes. 24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . WAGNER This content downloaded from 147."I havealso toneddownhis first-person I have mindsinsteadof "myself"in (i.butI prefer theA versionon philosophical grounds.4my approachhighlights 4 thenext throughout See S andHooker'sarticlein Hooker.God can makeanythingofkindF haveall and onlythosepropertieswhichFs areperceived as havingin R. to whichthese areapproximations: (I) (G) Let R be a c & d conceptionof a kindofthingF. (i. Perhapsthemostglaringfeature first deal withsomelesssubstantive me.(i.actualor otherwise. points.246. (I.) (i.not (C) andvariouspremises idiombyspeakingof "body. Then God canmakeanythingofkindF conform to R. It avoidssomecomplications.op.] (z. WithDescartes'spermission (AT VII.i) Everymindthinks. I thinkSep (typeA) can taketwosymmetrical forms. thesimpleformof (C) is moreappropriate. unextended thing(by (I .z).z) and (C).Thesearerelevant twoparagraphs.91.and althoughmuchthesametextualandphilosophical problems the modal assumptions arise eitherway.3) Anymindcan existas a thinking.z) I havea c & d conception whichattributes thought and failsto attribute extension to minds. (z) (G) [Asabove. (Q). extension but (z.not"mind"andbodies. i90.195 on Wed. 54) I havestated intermsofminds. unthinking thing.i) and (z.z) I havea c & d conception whichattributes to bodies. (Cf.HR I.3) Anybodycan existas an extended.] Let of (i) and (z) is theirinvalidity. 504 STEVEN J.Thisis inpartbecausewe needa carefulstatement of one or theotherversionofSep in orderto clarify somekeytextualpoints.whyhe wouldhavetroubletellingthemapart.z) and (z. (C) No mindis a body. HR II.i) and (i.As a first stepI wantto offer a precisedevelopment oftheA reading. More importantly. i6z.I shallmention theseat theendofthissection.

it is not possible forb (in anotherpossible situation) to be unextended. AT VII.whichDescartes needs even for (C) as I have statedit.of minds intonon-mindsand bodies into non-bodies.let alone mindwithout extensionor whatever. AT V.theyrule out are entirely foreignto his scheme. z3I-3z) are clouded over by an between(NE) and (NT) on the apparentinsensitivity to the differences one hand and theirde dictocounterpartson the other: (i. With thesepremisesadded. The remainingproblemsabout Sep concerntheinterpretation of (G). 478-79. thereis no doubt thatDescarteswould accept these principles. Let us thereforeadd (NE) and (NT) to Sep withoutfurtherdiscussion.but he neglectsto arguethatthoughtand extensionare essential(de re) to mindsand bodof the de ies respectively.i) with "necessarily"prefixed.. In fact.g. (C) followsin each case by Leibniz's Law.even God cannot make objects quite so bare. What.wherethisholds de re: ifb is extended. althoughits exact naturecannot be determinedwithouta betterunderstandingof his views on modalitythan is now available. then. While the generalidea is thatif myc & d conceptionascribesonlycertainpropertiesto Fs. thenit is at leastpossibleforanyF to have onlythe propertiesascribed. By thattoken. i85. myown view is that theyare nowhereclearlyargued foror clearlyassertedas The best passages on the essencesof mind and body (e.We may state the two needed principlesas follows: (NE) Whatever is extended lacks the propertyof being possibly unextended. 24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 505 .I am inclinedto suspect confusionon these mattersin Descartes.5 5 Descartes'stheoryof theeternaltruthsmayprovidea sensein whichGod reallycan do (could have done?) anything.of (NE) and (NT)? Quite apart fromtheircrucialrole in Sep. DESCARTES AND MIND-BODY DISTINCTNESS This content downloaded from 147. self-evident.i) and (z.Descartes does not committhe blunderof inferring(NE) and (NT) fromtheircounterparts.91. (G) describes an abilityGod retains afterhaving fixedthe actual eternaltruths.Yet while theyare decidedlynon-trivial.(i) succeeds if and only if extended things cannot exist without being extended. HR I.the main repairsneeded in (i) and (z) involvemodality.195 on Wed.(z) depends on the analogous assumption about thinkingthings. God could create a thingwithoutits own (so-called) essence.but thisis clearlynot to thepoint in Sep.Cf. 7I. unless we call the necessityand self-evidence dicto principlesan argument. I9z-93.notingforfuturereferencethatthisadditionis reasonable in spiteof Descartes's failureexplicitlyto supplytheseprinciples.246. AT III.The metamorphoses. (NT) Whateverthinkslacks thepropertyof beingpossiblyunthinking. PL I5.

HR II. cit.. yetthe conceptsof extensionand thoughtdo not involveeach other(AT VII.God makes a thing a conform to R if and only if he makes a have propertiesbesides: f15 * * * Xfn and no further .Three sortsof exceptionsto (G) are side issues forus: I believethat God mustadd propertiesguaranteedby sheerlogic (thinking-or-laughing)."6Modes of positivepropertiesare positiveproperties. Des6 7 This does not hold forthe shapeless.and althoughthe contentsof a mind God makes may change frommomentto moment. . 440). PL.God cannot. (D) Given a c & d conception R representinga certainkind of thingF just as having propertiesf.More generally. i66-68. "transcendental"properties(e.thatis.sizelesswhole of res extensa. he must always supply it with determinatethoughts..What thinksmustthinkin particularways.so we need a special clause to allow theiradditionto the F made in conformity with R. 21-z3. 354-55.and negativeproperties (such as being unextended. Any attributeof whicha propertyis a mode is alreadycontainedin a c & d conceptof the mode (AT VIII. PrinciplesI.For example.make thoughtthe only property of a mind. . But even apart fromthese. .or thatextensionis not one of thought. duration).195 on Wed.extendedbody by focusingjust on its being in motion. (dJ) transcendental properties.) negativeproperties. HR I.see S. z6.91. not obtained by attendingonlyto certainelementsof a richerconception. z55.246.forexample. 5o6 STEVEN J. AT III.. 443. I mayabstractfroma c & d conceptionof a moving. unlike thoughtand extension.because neither thoughtnor extensioncan be a mode of the other. andWilliams. WAGNER This content downloaded from 147. it is alreadyentirely"specific. It is worthnotingthat (d3) does not let God add extensionto a c & d conceivedmindor thoughtto a c & d conceivedbody. . cartes calls modes of that propertyunless.but I may not theninferthat God can make somethingunextendedmove. In the case at hand. In discussions subsequentto the Meditations.See W.Descartesmusthave seen that the conjunctionof this Principlewith his theoryof modes begs the question in favorof dualism.Descartes explainsthat (G) holds only when R is complete. For op. (d4) logical consequencesof propertiesadded under(d1)-(d3). (d. 350.in the case of mind). he mustgiveit what Deswhen God givessomethinga certainproperty.pp. 4z0-zI. 436. io9)7 Thereis one morepointto be coveredbeforeI can presenta finalversion of Sep. 14-z6.g. fn. 53 permitstoo easy a proofof dualismfromthe factthatthoughtis not a mode of extension. We mightthus offerthe following definition to clarify(G). moreon modes. 24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . * fn. (d3) modes of fI.

(3. The choice hereis just the choice betweentheA and B readings. 24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 507 .They call onlyfora of (G). The problemis thatDescartes'snotionof completenessis infectedby the basic ambiguityin his presentationof Sep. It is clear fromthe passages cited that my conceptionof mindjust as thinkingis completeif.z) and (z.carteswants the conceptionsin (i. whichis incorporatedintothefollowingrestatements refinement of (i) and (z).9 (3) (G') Let R be a complete. 97-99.i) Everybodyis extended. because with such a conceptDescartescould take the key step to (I.c & d conceptionof a kindof thing F. a coherent unable tofind third way. I9I-97). Then God can make any thingof kindF conformto R (in the sense of definition(D)). (3.3) in the Second Meditation.c & d conception whichattributes thoughtand failsto attributeextensionto minds.do I ipso factosee that what I conceiveneeds no otherproperties?The textsseem to vacillate. zz-z3. AT III."not formed by abstractingfrom a concept of mind which includes extensionor from a concept of body which includes thought (AT VII.91.I can doubt whethermindshave p (S.and some of the passages againstthis interpretation about completenessseem to lend independentsupportto theA reading.Proponentsof thelatterwill fastenon thepassgeswhich suggestthat a complete concept of mind has directmodal content.z) I have a complete. described.I need add-no furtherpropertiesin orderto forma coherentconceptof a kind of thing.246. since the conceptsof body and mindformedin the Meditationsare obviouslynot supposed to be abstractions. HR II.But in view of some recentliterature(particularly a fewremarksare in W. PL I5z). zz0-z3. when I see nothingmissingfrommyconcept.8 This is "completeness"because nothingseems to be missing frommy concept. AT IV.That is. Now thisrestriction seemsnot to be worthdwellingon. 40).z) to be "full. order. 474-77 (thebestexposition). 8 DESCARTES AND MIND-BODY DISTINCTNESS This content downloaded from 147. Also. So the problemof understandingcompletenessis just the problemof understanding Sep. and Descartes's remarkson thisnotiondo not alter the basics of the account I have alreadydeveloped. notbenegative ortranscendental.Now the questionis whetherDescartestakesconceivingmindin thisway to amountto seeingthatminds can existwiththought(and modes thereof)as theironlyproperty.p must 9 Onemight lookfora notion ofcompleteness intermediate between thetwoI have thusalsoforsomething I havebeen somehow between theA andBreadings. PL Iz3-z4. izo. forany propertyp besides thought.But all the evidenceforthe A readingcounts of completeness. izo-zi. Cartesian doubtis meant.195 on Wed. and withgood reason.

(5. of possiblybeing (NT) Whateverthinkslacks theproperty unthinking. of possibly (NE) Whateveris extendedlacks the property beingunextended. ButhowdoesDescartesget(5. The Divisibility Argument I gatherthatDiv is usuallyreadlikethis: (5) (5. I counttheseamongDescartes'sbestinsights and wouldjudgetheir of failureto appreciate them. whichattributes (4.3) Anybody'canexistas an extended.ofmindonlyas thinking at all to see thepossibility mind.] (4.whereat of mindsis inferred leastthepossiblenonextension at once.z)? 5o8 STEVEN J. thereis no directwayto concludethatextended or neednotthink. (4) (G') [Asabove. itself whichrules (i) Thereis simply nothing intheconceptofthought out extension or eventellsus thatwhatthinksis possiblyunextended.91.] Of coursethisis onlyone faceofSep (remember theB version).How Descartescouldspoilhisownideais thestoryof SectionIII. howeverclear.althoughI cannotsupportthemhere.I) is givenintheFifthMeditation. 24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .z) Everymindis indivisible.letus considerSep's neglected twin. c & d conception and failsto attribute thought to bodies.groundlesslyinmyview.3) Anymindcan existas a thinking.One mightevensay ofan unextended ofwhatis (objectively) thatthestepfromthisconception to knowledge possibleis so bigthatwe needGod's helpto takeit.ButDescartes's depthby thepersistence own appreciation is tenuous. (5.i) Everymindthinks. WAGNER This content downloaded from 147. (C) [As above. (C) No mindis a body. First. do not things Similarly. extension unthinking thing.246. (3.i) Everybodyis divisible. (4. (C) No mindis a body.unextended thing.z) I have a complete. is not (ii) To forma concept.I find itprettier foritsvisionof twofundamental pointswhichI hopeare at leastplausible.It disappearsin theB version. II.195 on Wed.

unlikein (5) or in theparallelcasesof (3. riddled withproblems. I72).z) are therefore unacceptable. tionofindivisibility. I) and(4.g.I974). HR II.AT VII. I can no partsin myself distinguish but clearlyunderstand as somemyself thisneednotbe a declarathingone and entire. i90). HR I.Bennett. I3. I4i. wouldsaddleDescarteswitha claimto c & d perception whichis unlikely evenbyhis standards. i96 and harderelsewhere (AT VII. e. deservescreditfor bridgeUniversity Press. Bennett. Thus: (6. ..however. larlyas on HR I. Kant'sDialectic(Cambridge: incidentally. 345. 3I3).an appealto introspection is hardto discernat HR I.H. Another possibility tionof(5. Therewouldbe littlechancethenofexplaining whySep evenappears. His usual objectsof introspection are "ideas" and faculties is quitesomething (e. How couldindivisibility possiblyseemto followjustfromthedefinition of mindas a thinking thing?One wouldhaveto wonderwhyDescartesbothersto arguefordualismat all.If (C) followsfromtwo immediate itemsof c & d perception (5. ? See. and accepting hisidentification willallowan easierexposition ofDiv. HR I.he seesno division.Seele. Descartesseemsjustto be sayingthathisconcept of minddoes notrevealanyparts.z). Descartesdoes not distinguish beingdivisiblefromactuallyhavingparts. divisibility itselfas a modalproperty..g."Takenquiteliterally.91. 5zo. thenecessary ofbodiesmaybe usefulevenfor divisibility thenon-modal formof (C). AT is a moreor lessdirectintuiVII.i). it is merelyconfusing to understand in spiteofthemodalsuffix.i) (Necessarily.) everybodyis divisible. i960) andJ.I). we maybeginanyreconstruction witha premiseaboutthe Certainly ofbody.195 on Wed. This. 35i. chapter5.He is sometimes heldto arguefromtheintrospected simplicity ofhis ownsoul.Monade (Wiesbaden:AkademiederWissenCamschaften undderLitertur. DESCARTES AND MIND-BODY DISTINCTNESS This content downloaded from 147. 24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 509 . and Descartes'sdiscussions ofintrospection do notsuggest otherwise.We shallseethatdepending on exactlyhowwe cast divisibility theargument.Theobvious routesto (5. (The othersI haveheardin conversation aremoreeasilyrefuted A fresh thanthosejustconsidered).246. 53-54. . Thereis also a moresubtletextualproblem here. and simplicity else. AT XI. Heimsoeth.incidentally. HR I. Div wouldbe farmorestraightforward thanSep (particu((5. I findhisdiscussion eventhough beingvirtually aloneintreating Div withrealrespect. Besides. For our purposes.'0Butthatone shouldbe able to introspect simplicity is most implausible.letalonewhyitreceives topbilling.butat leastas faras Descartesunderstandsthemind.z)). Atom. Descartes'snextstepis that"whenI considermymind.Theymaybe there(although Descarteswillshortly rulethatout). look at Div in theSixthMeditation seemsto be in order.

(C) 5IO No mindis a body. STEVEN J.Div also relieson (G') [as usual.z) yields (6. (6.I) yields (6. Indeed. Our nextproblemis thatmind-bodydistinctness does not yetfollow.anyway. i96.195 on Wed.i) and (6. would sufficefor the constructionof an alternativeto Sep.z) I have a complete.distinct.) (6.extension.z).And I findtheanalogybetweenmyrepresentations of Sep (at HR I.I admitthatDescartes'swordingalone does not dictatethisinterpretation.as faras we can tell.Thus.3) are absentfromHR I. It is truethat (G') and (6.246.But thisway he does nothave too easy an intuitionof theindivisibilityof minds. although given our present wording it is convenientto rewritethis principle. Now this.3) indivisiblething. In argubody distinctness ment(3) a certainproperty. What I am in factproposing.] whichwith (6.so thereis no dangerthatDiv will be simplerthanSep. Relying on the definitional equivalenceof bodies and extendedthings: (NB) Everybody lacks thepropertyof possiblynot beinga body. Again the concept of mind involvedmust be clear.plus the (de dicto) necessarydivisibility of bodies assertedin (6.4) Everybody lacks thepropertyof possiblybeingindivisible. standableifthe argumentwould exactlyparallelone alreadygiven.i) attributeddivisibilityto bodies. and he can affordnot to finishthe argumentsincehe has alreadygivena full proofof (C) along analogous lines.One expedientis to borrow (NE) from Sep.91. If thismuchis right.Descartes'ssketchinesssupThe lack of a fullpresentationof Div is underportsmyinterpretation. WAGNER This content downloaded from 147. Therefore. Anymindcan existas a thinking.of course. 24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . But it is also truethatDescartesmerelysaysthatwhat is statedthere.is attributedto bodies. and we thennote thatit does not belongto minds. (Analogouslyfor argument(4).is thatthe argumentsformindin the SixthMeditationare at bottomalike. We need to know that no body can exist withoutbeing divisible. He can expectthereaderto remember(G') (or (G)) froma fewpages back.c & d conceptionwhichattributes thought and failsto attributedivisibility to minds.and complete. and Descartes's next observationis thatthispropertydoes not visiblybelong to minds. i90) and Div an attractiveresultwhichadds to theindependentsupportforeach.(6.

If so. Now indivisibilityfollows with the help of (6. (AT VII.we understand no mindexceptas indivisible. 345).z) and (G') and that (ND) or (NB) is needed forvalidity. the "necessarily" in (6. are theretwo formsof Div or is (6) just an incorrect interpretation? (d) If Div does take two forms.In theSynopsisDescarteswrites: Forwe cannotconceive . A complex set of questionsnow arises: (a) Is (INC) strongerthan (6. I suggestedin connectionwith(NE) and (NT) thatDescartesis sometimesconfusedor sloppy about modality. since the Synopsispassage is plainly an intendedparaphrase of the argumentat HR I. the line betweentacit assumptionsand gaps in his argumentsmay be hard to draw. To fixthis we may replace (NB) by (ND) Whatever is divisible lacks the propertyof possibly being indivisible. I3.it leaves Descartes with no argumentfor the indivisibility of minds. The most seriousobjectionto myinterpretation concernsits fitwith passages outsidetheSixthMeditation. I4I. HR I. cf.246. Although it is interesting to ask how well Descartes saw the need for (ND) or (NB) in Div and how he mighthave defendedthem. .That and to establishthe sufficesto avoid the faultsof otherinterpretations kinshipbetweenDiv and Sep. witha gain in symmetry betweenSep and Div. 24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 5 II .z).In fact. . ofthehalfof anymindas we can ofthesmallest ofall bodies .91.195 on Wed.is the one with (INC) analogous to the B formof Sep as (6) is analogous to the A form? One mightthinkthat if the answer to (a) is "yes. This suggestsas a premiseforDiv not (6.I do not muchcare whethertheiraddition is the discoveryor the creationof a Cartesian argument.HR I. i96. .the lattershould be glossed by the former.while (INC) is somewhatunclear. i) can be droppedifwe use (ND). But we know fromSep thatDescartes'sreport of his own argumentmightbe questionable. .3)." (6) is just wrong.z) is plausiblya literalreadingof the text.Althoughthis versionof Div seems acceptable.What reallymattersto me is thatthe conclusionis reached from(6. DESCARTES AND MIND-BODY DISTINCTNESS This content downloaded from 147.z)? (b) Is it strongenough to let Descartes manage without(G') or without(ND) or (NB)? (c) If so. but somethinglike: (INC) A dividedmindis inconceivable. (6.i) then yields mind-bodydistinctness.Otherwisewe could as well reason that since (6.

If thisis right.3 a) Anymindcan existas a thinkingthingwhichis not evenpossiblydivisible. the most characteristicfeatureof Descartes's reasoning.This makes the task of interpretation quite hard.cannot be assumed. . .The equivalenceof (INC) and (6. (INCP) and (G') would give Descartes: (6. and Descartescould be rightnot to rule out dividedmindson the strengthof (INC) alone.246.conceivability Incidentally.thisis just the gap that (G') bridges.let us plausiblyassume that it is strongerthan (6. Descartes still gets nowhere without (G'). c & d) conception of mind does not show me thata dividedmindis possible. In orderto make progress. Nothing about how thingsobjectivelyare follows fromhis inabilityto see or conceiveanything. and the followingremarks are intendedonly as a preliminary exploration. but if it is even roughlythe sense of (INC). thenit is less criticalwhetherDiv beginswith(6.z). (This would mean thathe also cannot see thatextensionis possible.But this difference difference only at a point (the introductionof (ND) or somethinganal- If we interpret the Descartes'smodaltalkvia standardpossibleworldssemantics.Thereare two versionsof Div in in thatone protheMeditations.but thatseemsperfectly consistent(cf. But thereis one interesting difference. thisis not unnatural.Quick inferencesfrominconceivabilityto impossibilityare perhapsto be avoided. This leaves it unclearjust what (INC) means. varieswith our conceptsor beliefs. however. I have neverjudged anythingto be impossiblefor [God]. With this we reach the heart of the matter.195 on Wed. forme distinctly unlessit was contradictory to conceiveit" (HR I. is thereeitherway.) (INCP) So: My (complete.z).however.so that what is inconceivablenow may laterseem possible or even true.alike in theiruse of (G') and different makes a ceeds froma somewhatstrongerpremise. thenas far as I can see.z) in expressingDescartes's inabilityto see that mental divisibilityis even possible.It is clear that (INCP) is strongerthan (6.On a reasonableview. Readers may verifythat (assumingeven the weaker formof (6. 3I3). I85).Descartesinfersimpossibility not from inconceivability but only from(somethinglike?) a reductioad absurdum: ".HR II.z) as opposed to (INC) because (G')." The use of (INCP) would thereforeminimizethe dangers of Descartes'simplicitrelianceon modal principles.i)) (C) can now be reachedwithsomethingconsiderablysimplerthan (ND) or (NB).91. A first. oftheaccessibility suffices.importantpoint about (INC) is that it does not assertthe impossibility of a dividedmind. relation symmetry 5I2 STEVEN J. WAGNER This content downloaded from 147.let alone thatit obtains. 24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . We now have thefollowingpicture.

ogous) whichDescartestypicallyslidesover anyway. But aside fromthe factthatin thiscontext(NT) (4.I). CB. A8). The B version.3) would be just as remarkableas DESCARTES AND MIND-BODY DISTINCTNESS This content downloaded from 147.3) and (4.althoughI shall speak principallyof Sep. Descarteswould rightly would be virtuallyquestion-begging.he adds a divinevalidationof thisproposition.Descartes should simplyproceed without the unnecessaryreferenceto God. and Descartes easy answer: (6. it would be an enormous achievementfor Descartes even to establishpossible nonextension.I believethatcertainfactors mightalso facilitatea confusionbetween(6.it also shares with the A version whateverproblemsthe use of (NE) and its ilk involves. and (NT) allow Descartesa proofof dualismwhich avoids (G').This one has a relatively in Sep.then.I do not. (I discuss this issue in in Philosophyand Phenomenologi"Descarteson the Partsof the Soul.so that (4. I4I.Actually.'2 I am contentto have given a reading whichmakes reasonablesense and displaysthe kinshipof Div and Sep.3) is not so easilyhad. let us reviewthe basic problemsforeach versionof the argument. Insteadof acceptinghis c & d perceptionas proofthat mindscan exist unextended. Descartes betrayshis own confusion.246.z) was more controversialthan its counterparts completed his defense only in the Passions of the Soul.so that the viewpointnow to be developedwill illuminateboth arguments.wish to dwell on these. (4.z) and (INCP) themselves.91.theproofof (4.3)." forthcoming cal Research.thispartof the argument does no positiveharm. besides. UnlesstheB versionallows Descartesan immediatec & d perception that minds are actuallyunextended.3) as uncontroversial.No wonder. d conceptsof thoughtand extension.3)? One mighttake it to be obvious anyway. when he knows full well (in his bettermoments)that his concept of mindis initiallyjust silentabout themind-bodyrelation.having(supposedly)c & d perceivedthe possible nonextensionof minds.Anotherquestionis whetherI have made Sep and Div too equal to explain Descartes's favoritismtowards the former. but ifall a methodicaldoubterhas to go on are his c & regard(4.195 on Wed. They are outsidethe focusof thispaper. To beginto untangleDescartes'sconfusionsabout Sep. thathe failsto distinguishthetwo versions. But by appealing to God for the completionof a step already taken. I have some confidencethatwhateverrepairsor amendmentsmightbe requiredwill not erase that kinship. III.Descartesthen compoundshis bad startwithan inconsistency.we may recall.) '3 What about the possible nonmentalityof bodies expressedby (2.' of thenaturesof mindand body Notable hereis Descartes'stalk about the contrariety in connectionwithDiv (HR I.whichI neglectbecause it clearlyplaysno partin theSixthMeditation. 24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 5I 3 .beginswithfalseoptimism. But I shall not enterinto thesenow or into variousotherquestionsleft open in the past few pages.Descartes reads at least possible nonextensionoffof his c & d conceptof mind. however.

suppose we want to use (G') to show thata can lack a propertyF which is absent fromour c & d conceptionof a.ifF is a mode of extension. 5I4 STEVEN J.(d3) would tell us that in makinga conformto our conception. I suspect that this leaves his epistemologyof modal propositionsdeficient.'4 Withthiswe returnto theproblemsI raisednear theoutset.3). but we alreadyknow that bodies can lack thoughts.and again the use of (G') only yieldsa familiarresult.195 on Wed. If F is thoughtor extension. This is the point of a famous example of Arnauld's (AT VII. 83). HR II.and we are proving nothingnew.246. This clause.91.the second is eitherwrongor inapplicable.so we could not be assured that a could existwithoutF. I have already explained the fundamentalconflict between (G') and the proper role of God in Descartes's system.it is a disappointinglimitationof what looked like a powerfulprinciplefor obtainingmodal results.We have no businessbelievingthatsomethingcan lack whateverpropertieswe do not findessentialto it at a givenmoment. So a mustbe a body. HR II. since each avoids (some of) the objections facingthe other.Of coursethesituationis somewhatmorecomplicatedifthereare (created) substancesbesides minds and bodies. restrictsapplicationsof (G') to provingmind-bodydistinctness.be clear nonethelessthat (G') is objectionableforessenof tiallythosereasonswhichsetit at odds withthegeneralepistemology theMeditations. If (G') is short on applications it is also more or less immuneto counterexampleswhichdo not beg the questionof mind-bodydistinctness.a cannotbe a mind:ifa were a mind. but in any case Descartes could not use (G') to show that I mightnot have red hair or not be thinking about Vienna. To see this.The problemlies with (d3) of (D) in SectionI.In the A version.I shall Descartes'svictoryon the technicality spend-notimeon themhere. ioo-ioi).thatproperlyunderstood it is insufficient to make the A versionwork and unnecessaryin '4 one of (3. But since the repliestake some unraveling. zoi-z. and God has no businessvalidatingsuch beliefs. But still. 2z4-z5.and the thirdboils down to an appeal to (d3) (it is in factone of the best textualsources for thatclause).(G') is at once the mostinteresting premiseand the obvious weakness. So forDescartestherewould be littleto choose betweenforms(3) and (4) of the A version. it seems. WAGNER This content downloaded from 147. 24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .how could he fail to tell his argumentsapart? And how could he overlook the twindifficulties about the divineguarantee. Of Descartes'sthreereplies(AT VII.no matter how clear and distinctour understandingof the concepts involvedmightbe.a mustbe a body or a mind. I thinkthe firstrestson a bad misconstrualof the example.a must be a mind. It should. God could add modes of thought.Similarly.and whilethatmightbe consideredapplicationenough.It is also worthnotingthe price Descartespays to insulate(G') fromcounterexamples.withthe end resultbeingonly (d3) and defeatin the matterof principle. If F is a mode of thought.It is in a way understandablefor Descartes to offertwo versionsof Sep.

24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 5I 5 .Now this in turninducesthe further conflationof (G') withthe divineguarantee. The assimilationof (i) to (ii) or (iii) therefore givesthetwo versionsseeminglyidenticalfirststeps.the B version?I believe that a singleconfusionexplains thesepuzzles.246.) This is whyDescartesmistakes(G') foran expression of God's veracity.because he continuesto sense that (i).Of coursethismakes no sense.Here I believewe findDescartesat his mostconfused.195 on Wed. if (i) is misreadas (ii). which entailsdependenceon (G').When he slipsintotheB version. but we can now understandthe of Descartes's position. (Similarlyfor(i) and (iii). and (ii) a c & d perceptionthatmindsneed not be extended. while the B versioncan startwith (iii) or with(ii) (fromwhich (iii) followsby (NE)).91. or and Descartes'streatmentof dualism is largelythe productof running thesetogether. The distinctionscrucialto Sep are between: (i) a (complete) c & d conception of minds which does not attributeextensionto them. The vacillationwe have foundis builtinto the heartof Descartes's reasoning.but various familiarweaknessesof his philosophy can be traced to an imagisticmodel of thought. is all he is entitledto.the independenceof mind from body can be c & d perceivedwithoutGod's help. God would be a deceiverif mindswere necessarilyextendedin spiteof (ii). then the principlewhich assures Descartes that minds can be extendedif he has (i) can be identifiedwith what would guaranteethe same conclusiongiventhe conception(ii).withor withouta premise about divine veracity.thinkinghe has not materiallychangedthe argument. notoriouslyimagisticapproach to mental representation. his "ideas" are nonphysical. Descartes mishandlesthe distinctionbetween concepts and propositions.Notably. but once the difference is gone (G') is unnecessary.and it is unclearwhetheranyof themare in any sensementalimages.He needs to overlookthe difference instability between(i) and (ii) to accept (G') in the firstplace. Yet Descartescannot just abandon (G') and stickto the B version.We alreadyknow that (i) is the startingpoint forthe A version(in form(3)).and hencewhyeach versionof Sep appears as no moreto himthanan applicationof the divineguaranteeto a c & d perceptionof "mind apart frombody. Confusionbetween (i) and (ii) or (iii) is promotedby Descartes's To be sure." To explain the apparentlegitimacyof (G') in the A versionis not to explain why the B version also invokes God's benevolence. DESCARTES AND MIND-BODY DISTINCTNESS This content downloaded from 147.a misapplicationof theguaranteeis the nearestthingto his use of (G') in theA version. (iii) a c & d perceptionthatmindsare unextended.

' Clearly this mind thinks.This is relevantnot just to (i)-(iii) but also to (6. Suppose I have the c & d idea describedin (i). and one may easily suppose that since I do not attributeextensionto minds. if anything. for example.pp.even ifit existsnowhereelse.To be clear on the differencesbetween these and on what.troubleabout (i)-(iii) is not surprising.'5 Now the slide from(i) to (ii) is particularlyeasy on such a view.We need not. Descartestakes the idea of x to be x itselfas it exists("objectively") in the understanding:when I have an idea. Is it also extended?The answer ought to be that this is indeterminate.suppose thathe explicitlyreasonedas describedin theprecedbetween ingparagraph. passim.(iii)). But I thoughtit important to explaineven briefly how he could confound(i) and (ii) (or.Descartes's procedureonly makes good sense once we see it as a productof his system.eitherbe extendedor not. because my concept leaves the question of extensionopen. HR I.this mind mustexist withoutextension. I07-I9. in the theoryof "privations"(AT VII. This meansthatwhat is represented. i6 The relationbetweenideas of particularmindsand of mind generally is actuallyvery problematicin Descartes.195 on Wed. what my idea representsis righttherein mymind. WAGNER This content downloaded from 147. (One mightalso note thatimagisticviews of thoughthave trouble handlingmodal content.91. Kenny.z) and (INC).since thatbelongsboth to its essenceand to myconceptof it.but I thinkI can make mypointwithoutgettinginvolvedin theseintricacies.which draw on medievalsources.a mind. Even thoughhis conductof his argumentsgivesample independentevidenceforthis error.246. 43-46. But that is hard forDescartes to allow. cit.whichyields(ii).op. "validation" would amountto in each case.. Descartes's view of thoughtcould encourage a confusionwhich must have been tempting anyway. Is See especiallyMeditationsIII and V.) Without much elaboratingon these points. i64-66). 146-56 is also helpful. The mindthatexistsin myunderstanding must.let me indicateone naturalway forDescartes to get himselfinto trouble. 5i6 STEVEN J.it seems.and he has difficulties withnegationwhich show up. Thus ideas are not just imagesor replicasbut thingsthemselvesexistingin a special way.Descartescould thenconcludethatanymindhe may thinkof can existwithoutextension.by similar reasoning. one needs some command of the concepts-propositions distinctionand of the mechanicsof negation.A particularlyfinediscussionof some aspects of Descartes's positionhere is in W.which infectsthe theoryof c & d perceptionand leads to problems about assertionand proof. In thislight. exists in my understanding. I am acutelyaware of havingjust suppressedvariousproblemswithin Descartes'stheoryof mentalrepresentation.It is enoughthatwhen it came to discriminating several more or less subtlydifferent mental acts. 24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .incidentally.

I thusconcludewithan unusualview of what is bestin thearguments I have discussed. says much more.Frommyown pointof view it is not theirconclusions.91. Butit is stillhis insight.195 on Wed. Of course.Rather.of tryingto support Cartesian dualism along Cartesian lines. I thankWrightNeely.Ifthisis a strangelegacyfortheeponymof dualism. But I would claim that his additions combine remarkableunderstanding withsome of his mostunfortunate errors.AlthoughI hope to have conveyedsome of Descartes's ingenuity. Kant.StephenSchiffer.refine.I speculatethathe took thisnegativeapproachbecause he foundnone better.That his own approach also failsis secondary.In this respectDescartes anticipatessome of Kant's discussionsof the soul in the Critique of Pure Reason. and he surelywould have preferred a morestraightforward one had any seemedacceptable. mentaries DESCARTES AND MIND-BODY DISTINCTNESS This content downloaded from 147.and defend Sep show ample awareness of the difficulties his proof strategyfaced.246.it also confirmsthe depthand fertility of his mind. Nor is it Descartes's admittedlycleverstrategy.in fallingback on (G') Descartescame as close as a dualistcan to sayingthatthereare no good ways to prove dualism.I believe. 24 Apr 2013 11:23:15 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 5I7 . in adding a general theoryof whyin a sense the natureof the soul cannotbe establishedat all. Descartes'srejectionof classical argumentsabout thesoul is a decisivestep which. at least insofaras-theyproceed fromthe kindsof considerationsabout thoughtand matterinvokedby earlierphilosophers. For theircomments andilluminating ofthecomWilsonalsohelpedbywriting themostsubtle.Perhapsthe historicalplace of the SixthMeditation should thenbe reconsidered. Obviouslythatwas not his intention.The essence of Descartes's strategyis to or indivisibility prove immateriality fromthe absence of argumentsto thecontrary.Descartes's effortsto formulate.would serveas well as any of his otherachievements tifythe title. his deepest contributionmay be to comfortthe enemy: argumentsbased on (G') are near admissionsof defeat. Indeed. because I believethat dualism is false and with it the simplicitythesis.perhaps alreadyyesterday'sfashion.'7 '7 and Margaret Wilson.is quietlyannouncing thefailureof "positive" demonstrations(or refutations) of dualismand simplicity. I havecited.judicious.I like to thinkthatmy effortswill help lay to restthe fashion.Descartes. Too much in Descartes depends on thingsthat are too far wrong.This completesmyanalysis.In anycase.should one care to call him the fatherof modern to jusphilosophy.