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Marin Cureau De La Chambre On The Natural Cognition Of The Vegetative Soul: An Early Modern Theory Of Instinct

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Chapter Summary

Marin Cureau de La Chambre sticks with the general tripart distinction of vegetative, sensitive, and intellectual soul. Each part of the soul has its own cognition. Cognition is the way in which living beings regulate bodily equilibirum and environmental navigation. This regulative activity is governed by acquired or by innate images. Cureau develops a highly original theory of natural instinct. His theory attempts to explain five features of instinct: innateness, specialization, species-specificity, coerciveness, teleological nature. In Cureaus view, the sense of touch is a link between the kinds of cognition to be found in the vegetative soul and the sensitive soul. The form of thinking Cureau has in mind is cognition in the sense of the activation of significant internal structures to govern behaviour. One of the most interesting aspects of Cureaus theory of instinct, consists in his suggestions for a theory of innate representational content.

Keywords: Cureaus theory of instinct; Marin Cureau de la Chambre; natural cognition; vegetative soul



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