, Volume 156, Issue 2, pp 311–336 | Cite as

A teleological account of Cartesian sensations?

  • Raffaella De RosaEmail author
Original Article


Alison Simmons, in Simmons (1999), argues that Descartes in Meditation Six offered a teleological account of sensory representation. According to Simmons, Descartes’ view is that the biological function of sensations explains both why sensations represent what they do (i.e., their referential content) and why they represent their objects the way they do (i.e., their presentational content). Moreover, Simmons claims that her account has several advantages over other currently available interpretations of Cartesian sensations. In this paper, I argue that Simmons’ teleological account cannot be sustained for both theoretical and textual reasons and that it does not have the advantages it is claimed to have.


Descartes Sensory representation Biological funtion 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyRutgers University-NewarkNewarkUSA

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