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  • Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement, Volume 42
  • March 1997, pp. 29-50

‘The only sure sign …’: Thought and Language in Descartes


Some people like to think that the modern discipline of philosophy has little if anything to learn from the history of the subject, but in reality the philosophical inquiries of each generation always take shape against the background of an implicit dialogue with the actual or imagined ideas of past thinkers. Many of our current debates on the relationship between thought and language bear the imprint of what the ‘father of modern philosophy’ said, or is supposed to have said.

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J. Cottingham 1978b. ‘Descartes on Thought’, The Philosophical Quarterly 28, 208–14

R. Descartes 1985. The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, Volumes I and II, ed. J. Cottingham , R. Stoothoff and D. Murdoch . Cambridge University Press. (Referred to here as ‘CSM’)

M. Wilson 1978. Descartes. London: Routledge

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Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements
  • ISSN: 1358-2461
  • EISSN: 1755-3555
  • URL: /core/journals/royal-institute-of-philosophy-supplements
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