<psychology, gnoseology, metaphysics> the content of conscious thought. Plato used the Greek word idea to designate the universal Forms. For modern representationalists like Descartes and Locke, however, ideas are the immediate objects of every mental activity. Ideas in this sense are supposed to represent things - present or absent - before the mind. Recommended Reading: Gail Fine, On Ideas: Aristotle's Criticism of Plato's Theory of Forms (Clarendon, 1995); Margaret Dauler Wilson, Ideas and Mechanism (Princeton, 1999); David Hausman and Alan Hausman, Descartes's Legacy: Mind & Meaning in Early Modern Philosophy (Toronto, 1997); John W. Yolton, Locke and the Way of Ideas (St. Augustine, 1993); and Richard A. Watson, Representational Ideas: From Plato to Patricia Churchland (Kluwer, 1995).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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