Formal reality and objective reality

Doubting and judging, for example, are also modes of thinking. Descartes recognizes two forms of conjunction found among the simple natures: This would be in line with the theological demand that God is immaterial. If we trace the causal chain far enough back, we will find a cause with as much formal reality as the idea has objective reality.

Descartes' Theory of Ideas

The nature of an idea is such that of itself it requires no formal reality except what it derives from my thought, of which it is a mode. But with the sense of innate—as—faculty in mind, in Comments on a Certain Broadsheet, Descartes goes on to say that there is a sense in which even sensory ideas ideas of qualities such as pains, colors, sounds, and so onideas arising via the senses, which are a species of adventitious idea, are nevertheless innate.

The idea of a stone, then, could be caused by a stone or a large rock but it could not be caused by a color. This principle of representation PR can be expressed as follows: The objective reality of a thing is the kind of reality a thing possesses in virtue of its being a representation of something ibid.

Similarly, all ideas of modes will have the L degree of objective reality, and all ideas of infinite substances will have the H degree of objective reality. So, whereas for Plato ideas are the most real things in the cosmos, for Descartes ideas are among the least real. Even Plato seems to make an argument of this type in the Phaedo.

Even so, it reportedly represents the Sun in the heavens. Analysis This section of text dives right into a number of distinctions made by the medieval Scholastic philosophers that would have been very current in Descartes' day.

As we mentioned earlier, finite substances are bodies and minds, while modes are modifications of body and mind, like color, shape, size, imagination, idea, will, etc Such ideas are included in the category of Primary Idea. Simple natures form an ordered, hierarchical system. As some scholars have put it, the innate idea underlies or informs the occurring idea of the Sun NolanNelsonDe Rosa The import of this interpretation is that the immediate objects of awareness need not be purely mental—so, no tertium quid—which differs dramatically from the Representationalist interpretation.

But it can also be referred to, not in respect of the reality of its representational content but merely as existing or occurring in my mind qua idea. In the letter to Elisabeth, he includes a fourth: If a thing does not think, it is not a mind.

It includes only those simple natures belonging to the class whose members presuppose the simple nature extension. A body is a finite substance, and extension is its attribute.

Formal versus objective reality?

Nadler The idea of the Sun is understood as being a mental operation a mode of the mind directed at the Sun itself. Sensible qualities like color, sound, smell, taste, heat, cold, and so on are only perceived in a confused and obscure way, and the Meditator is not even certain as to whether or not they are things or non-things.

Examples List on Formal Reality And Objective Reality

So, the relation that Socrates has to this image must be importantly different from the relation that the mirror has to this image.

Descartes' Distinction Between Formal and Objective Reality Formal Reality - Extramental: Objective Reality - Mental/Ideas: God: The Idea of God/Infinite Substance: Self/Finite Substance: Idea of Self/Finite Substance: Modes/Attributes: Ideas of Modes/Attributes: Principles Involved in this distinction.

The amount of objective reality an idea has is determined solely on the basis of the amount of formal reality contained in the thing being represented. An idea of God has infinite objective reality; an idea of your cousin, assuming you have one, has finite objective reality;.

He goes on to give us a distinction between the objective reality and the formal reality of an idea. The objective reality is the reality of the representational content of the idea; every idea is the idea of something, it represents something.


Published: Wed, 03 May To begin this approach, Descartes introduces formal reality and objective reality. Formal reality is said to be what humans can actually see and prove to be their senses, and objective reality is what is in their minds.


The distinction between formal and objective reality in Descartes is elucidated on Brown's web reality refers to the reality of an object by virtue of the kind of thing it is (infinite, finite, modes/thoughts).

May 23,  · Rich Legum's Modern Philosophy Course 16a Objective vs. Formal Reality.

Formal reality and objective reality
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Descartes' "formal and objective reality" : askphilosophy