- Notes on Contributors
- Essences and Kinds
- From Causes to Laws
- Space and Time
- The Mechanical Philosophy
- Machines, Souls, and Vital Principles
- The Soul
- Qualities and Sensory Perception
- The Passions
- Language and Semiotics
- Form, Reason, and Method
- Instruments of Knowledge
- Picturability and Mathematical Ideals of Knowledge
- Virtue and Vice
- Egoism and Morality
- Realism and Relativism in Ethics
- The Free Will Problem
- The Equality of Men and Women
- Natural Law as Political Philosophy
- Sovereignty and Obedience
- Conceptions of God
- The Epistemology of Religious Belief
- Religious Toleration
Abstract and Keywords
This article examines the history of ideas during the early modern period. René Descartes extended the term idea to include sensation, imagination, and memory and located ideas in the human intellect. Not all philosophers agreed with him, and among the most prominent resistors were Baruch Spinoza and Nicolas Malebranche. Spinoza viewed ideas as modes of God insofar as God possesses the attribute of thought. Malebranche too insisted on retaining the pre-Cartesian opinion that ideas exist in God and not in human minds.
Pauline Phemister is Reader in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh and Deputy Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. She is author of Leibniz and the Natural World: Activity, passivity and corporeal substances in the philosophy of Leibniz (Springer, 2005) and The Rationalists: Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz (Polity, 2006).
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