Emanuele Levi Mortera

Descartes, Locke and the Origin of Natural Belief in the External World

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Descartes; Locke; Natural Judgment; Natural Belief; External World.

The paper aims at showing that Descartes' and Locke's philosophy, if considered in the light of some shared epistemological features, are less contrasting philosophical paradigms than at first glance they might seem. It is the author's contention that the passive nature of perception; criteria of conformity between ideas and things - i.e. their mutual resemblance or unresemblance and the vivacity of an idea -; spatial and temporal consistency, order and regularity of perceptions and their adaptive function for the human being; uniformity of the course of nature; the argument of divine providence used as a tool to make knowledge epistemologically reliable; all contribute to explain the action of a natural propensity or inclination in originating natural judgments and natural beliefs. Eventually, both Descartes and Locke seem to argue that human nature is more «fragile» and unstable than any science of man would be willing to acknowledge.

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