This is a comprehensive examination of the ideas of the early modern philosophers on the nature of mind. Taking Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume in turn, Janice Thomas presents an authoritative and critical assessment of each of these canonical thinkers' views of the notion of mind. The book examines each philosopher's position on five key topics: the metaphysical character of minds and mental states; the nature and scope of introspection and self-knowledge; the nature of consciousness; the problem of mental causation and the nature of representation and intentionality. The exposition and examination of their positions is informed by present-day debates in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of psychology so that students get a clear sense of the importance of these philosophers' ideas, many of which continue to define our current notions of the mental.
Again and again, philosophers and students alike come back to the great early modern rationalist and empiricist philosophers for instruction and inspiration. Their views on the philosophy of mind are no exception and as Janice Thomas shows they have much to offer contemporary debates. The book is suitable for undergraduate courses in the philosophy of mind and the many new courses in philosophy of psychology.
Acumen Publishing Ltd
Country of Publication:
27 April 2009
A / AS level
Acknowledgements Introduction Part I Descartes 1. Does Descartes think minds are substances? 2. Descartes on Self-knowledge 3. Human consciousness and the rational soul 4. Mental causation 5. Mental representation Part II Spinoza 6. Is the mind a substance for Spinoza? 7. Spinoza and Self-knowledge 8. The Subject of Thought and Consciousness 9. Spinoza and mental causation 10. Spinoza and representation Part III Leibniz 11. Is the mind a substance for Leibniz? 12. Self-knowledge and the monads 13. Leibniz on Consciousness and Unconscious Perceptions 14. Leibniz and the problem of mental causation 15. Leibniz and representation Part IV Locke 16. Is the mind a substance for Locke? 17. Locke's views on self-knowledge 18. Locke on consciousness 19. Locke on mental causation 20. Locke on representation Part V Berkeley 21. Minds are the only substances 22. What do we know about our own minds or selves? 23. What is the nature of consciousness for Berkeley? 24. Berkeley's Problem of Mental Causation 25. What is Berkeley's theory of mental representation and intentionality? Part VI Hume 26. Is the mind a substance for Hume? 27. Hume and Self-knowledge 28. Hume's notion of consciousness 29. Hume on mental causation 30. Hume on representation Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index
Janice Thomas is a Fellow of Heythrop College, University of London, where she was formerly Head of the Department of Philosophy.
Reviews for The Minds of the Moderns: Rationalism, Empiricism and Philosophy of Mind
An excellent book. The single greatest strength of the book is the ease with which Thomas weaves in contemporary scholarly discussions (among either historians of philosophy, or philosophers of mind) with her text: she does this very successfully, without getting lost in scholarly details. Charlie Huenemann, Utah State University