Insight and Inference: Descartes’s Founding Principle and Modern Philosophy

Murray Miles. Insight and Inference: Descartes's Founding Principle and Modern Philosophy. University of Toronto Press. 1999. 564pp.

From the publisher:

In this major re-examination of Descartes’s founding principle, cogito, ergo sum, Murray Miles presents a portrait of Descartes as the Father of Modern Philosophy that is very different from the standard one.

Viewing Descartes in both a historical and a systematic perspective, Miles presents a wealth of original analyses, arguments, and re-interpretations of key texts. The result is a fresh and illuminating account of Descartes’s metaphysical project and theory of the mind. Descartes’s achievement is a radical reversal of the order of knowing, a subjectivism that places knowledge of the mind ahead of knowledge of material things, yet is free of the metaphysical idealism that some of his successors went on to embrace.

A meticulous, scholarly, and exhaustive analysis, this book provides a minutely detailed reading of each word of Descartes’s founding principle, exploring in great depth the underlying epistemology and ontology. The book will fully repay a careful reading by any serious student of Descartes’s philosophy.