Questions related to René Descartes (31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650)

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How is Descartes Sure of Things When He is “Attending” to Them?

On SparkNotes, Rene Descartes apparently knows some things to be true as long as he is "attending" to them. These clear and distinct perceptions are only indubitable so long as he is attending to ...
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How was Descartes sure that his doubt was his own?

We recently studied about Descartes in school and my teacher said that Descartes was a sceptic, he doubted everything and had an idea of creator who decieves us. But the only thing he didn't doubt ...
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for Descartes, God is guarantee of truth, why do i make mistakes?

Descartes uses intellect to prove that God is the guarantee of the truth, and disproving the evil demon. But if this is true, why when i make purely intellectual reasoning, (because i can make a ...
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Do we have free will? And is the world we observe an illusion? [closed]

Why do we assume a physical world really exists? How do we not know that all there is are ideas and perceptions and we are deceived? Descartes using his hyperbolic doubt method had to doubt everything ...
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An absolute truth

In 1976 Antoine Léonard Thomas wrote paraphrasing Rene Descartes: I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am. My question is, is there anything else, built on such basic concepts, that has been ...
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Does Cartesianism really affect our present-day culture?

Are the ideas of Cartesian philosophy (example of an old and well known ideology that clearly hasn't impact just because people read it) really so spead throughout the present-day Western culture, ...
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Descartes levels of reality

There is a cup of coffee in front of me. In my mind, I have an idea of the cup of coffee. Explain how Descartes would understand the levels of formal reality (and objective reality, if it applies) of ...
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Metaphysically, what comes before the cognitive ability to make distinctions?

Descartes, for example, makes the distinction between body and mind by recognizing the body as an idea born from 'extension' and the mind as an idea born from 'consciousness'. He further recognizes '...
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Why did René Descartes opine that languages are 'fruits of study', but oratory and poetry 'gifts of the mind'?

Preface: Thinking this a question on Linguistics, I first posed on Linguistics SE but was redirected here. Source: p 76, Philosophy ; A Very Short Introduction (2002) by Edward Craig. Admittedly, ...
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Who was Descartes trying to refute when he came up with his cogito?

The IEP article on Descartes states that Descartes states that his purpose in showing that the human mind or soul is really distinct from the body is to refute those “irreligious people” who only ...
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What is a simple book summarizing Cartesian philosophy?

I know a bit of French, so I can read Descartes' work directly, but I would prefer to start with a simple book which summarizes descartes' philosophy.
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'God exists and does not deceive us': Why is this necessary for memory of proofs?

Source: p 38, Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy (1 ed, 1999) by Simon Blackburn Caution: I modified Blackburn's syntax and organisation to ameliorate readability; I added all numbering. ...
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In which books does Descartes propose his ideas about mind-body dualism?

In which books does Descartes propose his ideas about mind-body dualism?
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How have philosophers from Descartes to Kant understood the soul?

Modern philosophy, beginning with Descartes, raises issues of mind-body dualism, rationalism and empiricism, idealism and materialism. Yet most modern philosophers at least through Kant continued to ...
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What does it mean to say that Kant has a twofold ontology?

What does it mean to say that Kant has a twofold ontology? If indeed he does have a twofold ontology. Is that like Descartes' res extensa and res cogitans?
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Have Descartes' arguments for dualism been entirely refuted by modern neuroscience and information theory?

From the IEP article on Dualism: Decartes argues that the mind is indivisible because it lacks extension. The body, as an object that takes up space, can always be divided (at least conceptually),...
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Does the famous Descartes quote “dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum” suggests secure knowledge of ones existence?

After a discussion about the "difficulties to distinguish knowledge from faith" someone replied to me that the quote implies faith because it uses the word "think". But as it is generally understood: ...
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What is the contraposition of “I think therefore I am”?

It's known that Descartes was someone who believed in a God but isn't the contrapositive of "I think therefore I am" an atheistic notion. That is -I am not therefore I do not think- meaning if one ...
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Besides the Cartesian Circle, what flaws are there in Descartes' use of God

Apart from the circular argument in meditations III where he states that he has a clear distinct idea of god therefore he must exist and that since god exists and he is not a deceiver he can make ...
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How does Descartes use god in his Meditations?

How does Descartes use god to avoid answering certain questions directly?
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What historical or doctrinal problems provoked Descartes' “Cogito”?

Descartes' Meditations and Discourse apply a radical scepticism towards knowledge in order to finally refute it, founding certainty on the immediacy of self-knowledge, usually considered the great ...
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Which substance is time associated with in Descartes' philosophy, mental or corporeal?

Descartes asserts that all that there is that is directly cognisable to us, by mind or by eye, are modifications of two substances: res cogitans and res extensa, mental and corporeal. How does he ...
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How does Descartes justify his supposition that 'motion' is conserved?

In Newtonian physics the law of the conservation of momentum is deduced from the three laws - and it is specific and quantitative; which follows from the specificity and quantitiveness of the three ...
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What is res in res cogitans or res extensa?

Substance is that which has no dependent relation on any other; and unlike an atom, is infinitely differentiable - it has parts; and those parts thus distinguished have relations amongst themselves; ...
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Is Lacanian subjectivity relational?

Descartes notion of the subject is self-subsistent: the self reflecting on itself finds itself. The Lacanian mirror appears to introduce an other to find the self - his notion of the subject appears ...
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How does Descartes determine that the idea of God has more objective reality than finite substance?

Descartes's third meditation, which sets out to prove the existence of God from previous considerations, confuses me greatly. Descartes appears to be trying to make an argument that the source must ...
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How to understand Nozick's response to Descartes's Skeptical Argument?

Consider the following Skeptical Argument: P1. You do not know that you are not a brain in a vat. P2. You know that if you have hands, then you are not a brain in a vat P3. If you know that A, and ...
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Descartes's “cogito” as a continuation rather than a break

Descartes axiom is cogito ergo sum - I think therefore I am; and in one view inaugurated a break in European Philosophy towards modernity by propelling it towards a self-conscious rationalism, to ...
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Can a disembodied soul form empirical beliefs?

Is it metaphysically possible for a disembodied Cartesian soul to so much as form any purportedly empirical beliefs, even if only ones that are false?
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Why do some philosophers argue that we do not know, a priori, that something thinks?

The Cartesian argument seems to explicate the fact that I necessarily know that something thinks, and that I necessarily know that something thinks even if I don't checking the world to verify whether ...
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Questions on the second meditation by Descartes

Upon reading the second meditation of Descartes, I am perplexed by an illustration Descartes presents involving wax. For reference, this illustration, or argument, is contained within the 11th and ...
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Sartre and the cogito

When Sartre inverted the Aristotelian doctrine of essence before existence; should he also have inverted the Descartians cogito; not cogito, sum but sum, cogito; given that thinking is the essence of ...
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Contemporary proponents of Cartesian dualism

I have to find examples of contemporary philosophers who accept Cartesian dualism. Who would be the most important proponent? While philosophers who reject physicalism (e.g. David Chalmers, Thomas ...
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In Descartes “Meditations on First Philosophy”, what does the title “first philosophy” mean?

"Meditations" as outlined in his book refers to methods of acquiring knowledge, but what does "First philosophy" refer too/mean? It certainly does not carry a sequential meaning, because there is no "...
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Why doesn't Parmenides argument hold for fields - or does it?

The SEP points out For Descartes argued in his 1644 Principles of Philosophy (see Book II) that the essence of matter was extension (i.e., size and shape) because any other attribute of bodies ...
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Fundamental Truths in Philosophy [duplicate]

Many years ago I took a philosophy class that covered Descartes. The teacher logically explained to us the "I think Therefore I am" over the course of a week. He also said that it was one of the ...
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Can 'I think, therefore I am' be reduced to 'I, therefore I am'?

Indeed, the thinking activity of a reflective person presupposes such a 'reflective person'. What I observe is that there are certain attributes or characteristics in words, words like 'think', '...
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Do any other famous examples of synthetic a priori exist?

From what I understand in the context of Western philosophy René Descartes famous statement "I think therefore I am" is an example of sythetic a priori. Descartes was a rationalist and this statement ...
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Descartes forth meditation: The role of god in the process of judgment making

In Descartes' forth meditation, he says" The privation, I say, present in this operation insofar as the operation proceeds from me, but not in the faculty given to me by god, nor even in its operation ...
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the method from descartes' Rules for guiding one's intelligence rule 4

the method from descartes' Rules for guiding one's intelligence rule 4. I can't find the method what he explained. Would someone tell me what is the method what he explained? does he explained the ...
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is descartes theory wrong?

why does Descartes say that the pineal gland in the center of the brain is the gateway between our physical bodies and mental spirits? Is there a problem with this theory?
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Descartes argument on animals

what is Descartes argument for why animals are incapable of reasoning and have no soul? is this argument agreeable?
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what is descartes argument for machines?

what is Descartes argument for why even sophisticated machines will never have capacity to reason? and is the argument agreeable?
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Can we doubt that we are conscious? That we are not dead?

Sorry for the splurge of questions... Obviously Descartes would suggest that we can't doubt that we think, cos doubt is a cognitive attitude. But is it one that occurs when we think it does, i.e. can ...
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How do res cogitans and res extensa interact?

In all religions what ever existed there are soul and God - two intangible things. From physics we know that there is no difference between particle without eletrical charge, gravity, mass and energy ...
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535 views

Whose major work was influenced by Descartes?

For instance, Newton's ‘Mathematical principles of natural philosophy’ is heavily influenced by Euclid's ‘Elements’. Newton was highly influenced by the Elements. So I would call Newton's book a ...
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Does Descartes' cogito require awareness of thinking?

Descartes cogito is 'I think therefore I am'. Can an ant do the same? Breaking this down, one has 'I think' and I am aware that 'I am thinking' and therefore 'I am'. One requires here it seems some ...
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How would Descartes respond to Wittgenstein's objection to radical doubt?

From what I understand, Descartes wrote refutations to criticisms made of his Meditations. I'm just interested in what he would say to Wittgenstein, who I think has the most compelling critique of ...
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Could a philosophical zombie conclude “cogito ergo sum”?

Could a philosophical zombie conclude "cogito ergo sum"? Assume a philosophical zombie which is a hypothetical being that is indistinguishable from a normal human being except in that it lacks ...