Innate Ideas and Immortality in Descartes and Locke

Shand, John (2004). Innate Ideas and Immortality in Descartes and Locke. Locke Studies, 4 pp. 47–58.



This paper traces the connections between the assertion or denial of innate ideas, and the possibility of the soul being immortal, in the contrasting cases of Descartes and Locke. Descartes and Locke disagree about whether there are innate ideas and the nature of the soul, but they agree that the soul is immortal. The issue explored is which theory of the mind, Descartes's or Locke's, is in the best position to contend that we to survive death, and indeed exist immortally. The argument is not as straightforwardly in Descartes's favor, as one might suppose.

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