Article ID: CBB000760671

Knowing Our Nature: A Note on Régis' Response to Malebranche (2007)


Nicolas Malebranche was the first Cartesian philosopher to challenge Descartes' claim that we are capable of possessing a clear and distinct understanding of the soul's nature. Other Cartesians, including Clauberg, La Forge, and Cordemoy, accepted without question the conclusion of the Second Meditation that the nature of the soul is better known than is the nature of body. After presenting an overview of Malebranche's argument, this note turns to the Cartesian philosopher Pierre-Sylvain Régis. Régis, like the Cartesians before Malebranche, sides with Descartes in this debate over the question of whether we can have knowledge of our soul's nature, but unlike his predecessors, he provides an original argument defending his position. This argument is, I argue, a direct response to the argument Malebranche had used in his case against Descartes.

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Authors & Contributors
Schmaltz, Tad M.
Perler, Dominik
Ablondi, Fred
Landucci, Sergio
Sportelli, Silvano
Pécharman, Martine
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Archiv für Begriffsgeschichte
American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly
Dianoia: Annali di storia della filosofia
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Franco Angeli
Cambridge University Press
Soul (philosophy)
Philosophy and religion
Philosophy of science
Malebranche, Nicolas de
Descartes, René
Régis, Pierre Sylvain
Arnauld, Antoine
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm von
Desgabets, Robert
Time Periods
17th century
18th century
16th century
Early modern
Paris (France)

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