If we were to look caref ully at recent commentary on Descartes's theories of ideas and Sensation, we would find that a large number of commentators hold that he believes the following:.
(1) Ideas are representational,
(2) Sensations are ideas,
(3) Sensations are not representational.
This is an inconsistent triad: any two of the above claims can be true together, but they cannot all be true together. The inconsistent triad can be avoided if we reject one of the claims. Some have argued that Descartes did not hold (l).1 Some have argued that he did not hold (3). I believe that Descartes held (1) and (3), and will argue that he did not hold (2).
Generally, any account of Cartesian Sensation at the very least must account for sensations in terms of the ontology. The account must say whether they are modes or not, and if modes, modes of what — mind, body, both, the union, and so on. Moreover, how sensations are cast in terms of the ontology must agree with how they are cast in terms of the epistemology.