Cartesian Consciousness ReconsideredSkip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
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Descartes revolutionized our conception of the mind by identifying consciousness as the mark of the mental: all and only thoughts are conscious. Today the idea that all thoughts are conscious seems obviously wrong. Worse, however, Descartes himself seems to posit a whole host of unconscious thoughts. Something is not as it seems. Either Descartes is remarkably inconsistent, or his claim that all thought is conscious is more nuanced than it appears. In this paper I argue that while Descartes was indeed unwavering in his commitment to the conscious mark, he had the resources to distinguish different types and degrees of consciousness that make for a richer cognitive psychology than he is typically credited with.