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Sample text

Descartes insists here on two distinctions. There is, first, the argument against individuation by matching looks. Thus, if we have two look-indiscernible “images” (be they photographs or paintings or “internal images”) of, say, the sun and a twin sun, 32 c og ito ? Descartes will class them as two distinct ideas (idea-types), if they arise, as ours do, from different efficient causes. Second, fix now the originating object, say our sun. Consider now two qualitatively indiscernible sun-imagistic presentations, one accomplished by a painter, one by an automatic photograph.

No discussion in this vein occurs in Descartes, and so one wonders: what forces us to worry about segregating this kind of thing, thinkings (that are allegedly otherwise indiscernible)? It seems to me the threat is a by-product of the classical meditative content flow diagram we have already attended to—from mind-by-content to the external world. This diagram explains thinking by starting from the “internal world” and its contents and leaping to the “external world” and its vast plurality of distinct objects.

The hold of the mind on an object is never direct; it is mediated by the telescoping predicate(s) making the object intelligible to the mind. On both models, there is no thinking of an object without predicative representation, without predicative denotation, of the object. the refutation of the predicative telescope model I will focus in what follows on the RC variant of the predicative telescope methodology for two reasons. First, among uses of the predicative telescope to account for thinking-about, I understand this variant better than others.

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