By Stephen Gaukroger
This publication offers with a formerly overlooked episode within the background of good judgment and theories of cognition: the way conceptions of inference replaced through the seventeenth century. Gaukroger makes a speciality of the paintings of Descartes, contrasting his rationalization of inference as a right away clutch in accord with the ordinary gentle of cause with the Aristotelian view of inference as a discursive procedure. He bargains a brand new interpretation of Descartes' contribution to the query, revealing it to be an important boost over humanist and overdue Scholastic conceptions, and argues that the Cartesian account performed a pivotal function within the improvement of our figuring out of the character of inference.
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Additional resources for Cartesian Logic: An Essay on Descartes's Conception of Inference
W. Gilbert, Renaissance Concepts of Method (New York, 1960). 20 W. , Oxford, 1939-45), vol. ii. 21 Cf. J. Barnes, 'Aristotle's Theory of Demonstration', pp. 85-6. 22 Cf. P. Reif, 'The Textbook Tradition in Natural Philosophy, 1600-1650', Journal of the Histo~y of Ideas, 30 (1969), 17'-32. 24 DESCARTES AND TRADITIONAL SYLLOGISTIC of pedagogic classification of knowledge, where the point of the exercise is to enable us to refer any question back to the storehouse of ancient wisdom, the purpose of the topics being to provide us with points of entry into this storehouse.
Even Augustine had accepted a ventricular account, suggesting that the posterior ventricle was the seat of motion, while memory resided 46 DESCARTES'S CONCEPTION OF INFERENCE in the middle ventricleY Neither Thomists nor Averroists seem to have had any doubts about the ventricular theory, and only the Alexandrian naturalists, who (unlike some of the medical writers) were aware of the danger of biological reductionism if they tried to provide the intellect with a specific location, denied the theory.
This view had considerable precedents in antiquity: going beyond Galen, Poseidonius of Byzantium, as a result of research into brain injuries, had not only associated reasoning with corporeal organs but had actually located reason inside the middle ventricle, and Nemesius, an influential Christian Platonist working at the beginning of the fifth century, had placed perception in the anterior ventricles, reason in the middle, and memory in the posterior ventricle. Even Augustine had accepted a ventricular account, suggesting that the posterior ventricle was the seat of motion, while memory resided 46 DESCARTES'S CONCEPTION OF INFERENCE in the middle ventricleY Neither Thomists nor Averroists seem to have had any doubts about the ventricular theory, and only the Alexandrian naturalists, who (unlike some of the medical writers) were aware of the danger of biological reductionism if they tried to provide the intellect with a specific location, denied the theory.