Saturday, 16 January 2010

Unmechanical Phancy. — “These men have been sometimes indeed a little Troubled with the Phancy, Apparition, or Seeming of Cogitation, that is The Consciousness of it, as knowing not well what to make thereof; but then they put it off again, and satisfie themselves worshipfully with this, that Phancy is but Phancy, but the Reality of Cogitation, nothing but Local Motion; as if there were not as much Reality in Phancy and Consciousness, as there is in Local Motion.” [1]

Ralph Cudworth alludes most pertinently to Thomas Hobbes, whose all-encompassing mechanistic philosophy rejected any place for intentionality or final causality in the world. Yet, by this denial, it makes no sense to say that intentional happenings are fancies or illusions; for these are themselves intentional happenings, that is to say, they are about something, albeit not true about the world outside the mind.

[1] Ralph Cudworth, The True Intellectual System of the Universe (London: Richard Royston, 1678), p.846.