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Colin Chamberlain [17]Colin William Chamberlain [1]
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Colin Chamberlain
University College London
  1. Color in a Material World: Margaret Cavendish against the Early Modern Mechanists.Colin Chamberlain - 2019 - Philosophical Review 128 (3):293-336.
    Consider the distinctive qualitative property grass visually appears to have when it visually appears to be green. This property is an example of what I call sensuous color. Whereas early modern mechanists typically argue that bodies are not sensuously colored, Margaret Cavendish (1623–73) disagrees. In cases of veridical perception, she holds that grass is green in precisely the way it visually appears to be. In defense of her realist approach to sensuous colors, Cavendish argues that (i) it is impossible to (...)
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  2. What Am I? Descartes’s Various Ways of Considering the Self.Colin Chamberlain - 2020 - Journal of Modern Philosophy 2 (1):2.
    In the _Meditations_ and related texts from the early 1640s, Descartes argues that the self can be correctly considered as either a mind or a human being, and that the self’s properties vary accordingly. For example, the self is simple considered as a mind, whereas the self is composite considered as a human being. Someone might object that it is unclear how merely considering the self in different ways blocks the conclusion that a single subject of predication—the self—is both simple (...)
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  3. The Most Dangerous Error: Malebranche on the Experience of Causation.Colin Chamberlain - 2021 - Philosophers' Imprint 21 (10).
    Do the senses represent causation? Many commentators read Nicolas Malebranche as anticipating David Hume’s negative answer to this question. I disagree with this assessment. When a yellow billiard ball strikes a red billiard ball, Malebranche holds that we see the yellow ball as causing the red ball to move. Given Malebranche’s occasionalism, he insists that the visual experience of causal interaction is illusory. Nevertheless, Malebranche holds that the senses represent finite things as causally efficacious. This experience of creaturely causality explains (...)
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  4. “The body I call ‘mine’ ”: A sense of bodily ownership in Descartes.Colin Chamberlain - 2019 - European Journal of Philosophy 27 (1):3-24.
    How does Descartes characterize the peculiar way in which each of us is aware of our bodies? I argue that Descartes recognizes a sense of bodily ownership, such that the body sensorily appears to be one's own in bodily awareness. This sensory appearance of ownership is ubiquitous, for Descartes, in that bodily awareness always confers a sense of ownership. This appearance is confused, in so far as bodily awareness simultaneously represents the subject as identical to, partially composed by, and united (...)
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  5. The Duchess of Disunity: Margaret Cavendish on the Materiality of the Mind.Colin Chamberlain - forthcoming - Philosophers' Imprint.
    Sometimes we love and hate the same thing at the same time. Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673)—the maverick early modern materialist—appeals to this type of passionate conflict to argue that the mind is a material thing. When our passions conflict, the mind or reason conflicts with itself. From this Cavendish infers that the mind has parts and, therefore, is material. Cavendish says this argument is among the best proofs of the mind’s materiality. And yet, the existing scholarship on Cavendish lacks the kind (...)
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  6. Move Your Body! Margaret Cavendish on Self-Motion.Colin Chamberlain - manuscript
    Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673) argues that when someone throws a ball, their hand does not cause the ball to move. Instead, the ball moves itself. In this chapter, I reconstruct Cavendish’s argument that material things—like the ball—are self-moving. Cavendish argues that body-body interaction is unintelligible. We cannot make sense of interaction in terms of the transfer of motion nor the more basic idea that one body acts in another body. Assuming something moves bodies around, Cavendish concludes that bodies move themselves. Still, (...)
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  7. What Is It Like To Be a Material Thing? Henry More and Margaret Cavendish on the Unity of the Mind.Colin Chamberlain - 2022 - In Donald Rutherford (ed.), Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, Volume XI. Oxford University Press. pp. 97-136.
    Henry More argues that materialism cannot account for cases where a single subject or perceiver has multiple perceptions simultaneously. Since we clearly do have multiple perceptions at the same time--for example, when we see, hear, and smell simultaneously--More concludes that we are not wholly material. In response to More's argument, Margaret Cavendish adopts a two-fold strategy. First, she argues that there is no general obstacle to mental unification in her version of materialism. Second, Cavendish appeals to the mind or rational (...)
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  8. A Decaying Carcass? Mary Astell and the Embodied Self.Colin Chamberlain - manuscript
    Mary Astell (1666-1731) relies on a Cartesian account of the self to argue that both men and women are essentially thinking things and, hence, that both should perfect their minds or intellects. This account of the self might seem to ignore the inescapable fact that we have bodies. I argue that Astell accommodates the self’s embodiment along three dimensions. First, she tempers her sharp distinction between mind and body by insisting on their union. Second, she argues that the mind-body union (...)
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  9. Our Bodies, Our Selves: Malebranche on the Feelings of Embodiment.Colin Chamberlain - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5.
    Malebranche holds that the feeling of having a body comes in three main varieties. A perceiver sensorily experiences herself (1) as causally connected to her body, in so far as the senses represent the body as causing her sensory experiences and as uniquely responsive to her will, (2) as materially connected to her body, in so far as the senses represent the perceiver as a material being wrapped up with the body, and (3) as perspectivally connected to her body, in (...)
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  10.  50
    A Great Guide to the Preservation of Life: Malebranche on the Imagination.Colin Chamberlain - forthcoming - British Journal for the History of Philosophy.
    Nicolas Malebranche (1638-1715) holds that the senses, imagination, and passions aim at survival and the satisfaction of the body’s needs, rather than truth or the good of the mind. Each of these faculties makes a distinctive and, indeed, an indispensable contribution to the preservation of life. Commentators have largely focused on how the senses keep us alive. By comparison, the imagination and passions have been neglected. In this paper, I reconstruct Malebranche’s account of how the imagination contributes to the preservation (...)
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  11. ‘Let us imagine that God has made a miniature earth and sky’: Malebranche on the Body-Relativity of Visual Size.Colin Chamberlain - 2020 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6 (2):206-224.
    Malebranche holds that visual experience represents the size of objects relative to the perceiver's body and does not represent objects as having intrinsic or nonrelational spatial magnitudes. I argue that Malebranche's case for this body-relative thesis is more sophisticated than other commentators—most notably, Atherton and Simmons —have presented it. Malebranche's central argument relies on the possibility of perceptual variation with respect to size. He uses two thought experiments to show that perceivers of different sizes—namely, miniature people, giants, and typical human (...)
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  12. Our Body Is the Measure: Malebranche and the Body-Relativity of Sensory Perception.Colin Chamberlain - 2020 - Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy 9:37-73.
    Malebranche holds that sensory experience represents the world from the body’s point of view. I argue that Malebranche gives a systematic analysis of this bodily perspective in terms of the claim that the five familiar external senses and bodily awareness represent nothing but relations to the body.
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  13. A Bodily Sense of Self in Descartes and Malebranche.Colin Chamberlain - 2016 - In Jari Kaukua & Tomas Ekenberg (eds.), Subjectivity and Selfhood in Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy. Cham: Springer. pp. 219-234.
    Although Descartes and Malebranche argue that we are immaterial thinking things, they also maintain that each of us stands in a unique experiential relation to a single human body, such that we feel as though this body belongs to us and is part of ourselves. This paper examines Descartes’s and Malebranche’s accounts of this feeling. They hold that our experience of being embodied is grounded in affective bodily sensations that feel good or bad: namely, sensations of pleasure and pain, hunger (...)
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  14. Not a Sailor in His Ship: Descartes on Bodily Awareness.Colin Chamberlain - 2022 - In Routledge Handbook of Bodily Awareness. London: Routledge. pp. 83-94.
    Despite his reputation for neglecting the body, Descartes develops a systematic account of bodily awareness. He holds that in bodily awareness each of us feels intimately connected to our body. We experience this body as inescapable, as infused with bodily sensations and volitions, and as a special object of concern. This multifaceted experience plays an ambivalent role in Descartes’s philosophy. Bodily awareness is epistemically dangerous. It tempts us to falsely judge that we cannot exist apart from our bodies. But bodily (...)
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  15. Review of the Well-Ordered Universe. [REVIEW]Colin Chamberlain - 2019 - Hypatia Reviews Online.
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  16.  54
    Occasionalism: Causation Among the Cartesians. [REVIEW]Colin Chamberlain & Jeffrey K. McDonough - 2013 - Philosophical Review 122 (1):125-128.
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  17.  65
    Arts and Minds. [REVIEW]Ronald de Sousa & Colin Chamberlain - 2007 - Review of Metaphysics 60 (4):860-861.
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