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date: 28 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews the basic tenets of Descartes’s mind–body dualism and its context, including the epistemological role of mind in its capacity as a pure intellect and as part of a being with sensory perception. Then, putting aside the metaphysics of dualism, it focuses on the functional aspects of mind and its relation to body, and on the role of the bodily machine in Descartes’s psychology. Within this large territory, it examines mind and psychology as categories applicable to Descartes’s writings before turning to the active role of the brain in Descartes’s theory of mind and machine psychology, including his “natural geometry”, his theory of the passions, and the machine psychology of mindless non-human animals—and of human beings, when the body acts without direction from the mind.

Keywords: mind–body dualism, active brain, machine psychology, natural geometry, passions

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