La critique du modèle perceptif de nos opérations mentales chez Thomas Reid

Abstract : As is well known, Thomas Reid (1710-1796) refutes the notion of a mental operation being a perception of something mental (like an image or an idea). He therefore opposes the perceptual model of our mental operations. But what is his own idea of an operation of the mind? Because he identifies the conception implied in every intellectual operation with the act of conceiving, it could be imagined that he considers mental power to be mental agency and that he thinks intellectual operations create evidence or produce their objects. In opposition to such interpretations, the first part of this paper establishes the meaning of the statement that mental operations are actions of the mind. In the second part, I examine what is meant by the object of mental operations. These two points highlight Reid’s aversion to subjectivism and explain his opposition to the perceptual model. Finally, two targets are distinguished: an optical model and a tactile model (from which a sentimentalist model is derived). Examining their scientific and philosophical backgrounds helps Reid to understand their genealogical connection and how they pave the way for various skepticisms.
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Claire Etchegaray. La critique du modèle perceptif de nos opérations mentales chez Thomas Reid. Les études philosophiques, Presses Universitaires de France, 2017, 173 (3), pp.437. ⟨10.3917/leph.173.0437⟩. ⟨hal-01962650⟩

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