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

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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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1answer
54 views

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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29 views

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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75 views

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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1answer
35 views

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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211 views

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 ...
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3answers
265 views

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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105 views

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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63 views

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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88 views

How does Descartes use god in his Meditations?

How does Descartes use god to avoid answering certain questions directly?
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96 views

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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1answer
34 views

Which res is time associated with in Descartes' philosophy?

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. How does he himself concieve of time ...
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80 views

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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2answers
506 views

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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16 views

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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1answer
167 views

Descartes's Third Meditation

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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89 views

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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52 views

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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108 views

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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76 views

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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197 views

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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149 views

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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230 views

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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1answer
126 views

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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77 views

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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72 views

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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255 views

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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116 views

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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28 views

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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55 views

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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128 views

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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95 views

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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32 views

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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137 views

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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385 views

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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489 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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112 views

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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669 views

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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174 views

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 ...
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433 views

Roko's Basilisk as Descartes' evil genius?

I'll try to pose a shortened version of Roko's Basilisk below and then ask about how it relates to Descartes' evil genius: The idea is that down the line may it be decades or centuries from ...
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Does Cartesian Doubt Depend on Cartesian Dualism?

Even though this isn't exactly accurate, the way I like to think of Descartes' hyperbolic doubt as stating that there's no way to prove that information gained through sensory experience is accurate. ...
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196 views

Is the cogito analytic a priori?

Descarte said 'I think therefore I am', or in the orginal Latin, cogito ergo sum. Is this analytic a priori? The evidence for it being analytic, is that the first statement 'I think' includes a ...
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335 views

What is the relation between Descartes' “lumen naturale”, God and logic?

This is not a question about the cogito argument in the closer sense. I will try to isolate my questions from the other questions posted concerning Descartes. If I understood what I've read ...
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1answer
150 views

What is the analytic-synthetic dilemma concerning existence?

Reading a paper on Descartes I found the following summary of criticism: Stuart Hampshire, on the one hand, emphasizing the indubitability required of the principle by Descartes, concludes that ...
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214 views

“cogito ergo sum” and then…?

After his ever so famous "cogito ergo sum", Rene Descartes' second (deep?) thought was something like "God exists" (according to my literature). I think he brought this up mainly due to historical ...
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What is the essence of Descartes Riddle?

In Descartes philosophy Mind & Matter are two substances which he then found difficult explain how they affected each other. This, on the face of it seems wrong. Conventionally, one supposes one ...
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40 views

Descartes' Enlargement or Limitation of Cognition?

Descartes gives the metaphysical implications of freedom of the will as it relates to the power of cognition. This involves the function of judgement in its natural character and representational ...
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Defenses of Descartes's rationality in regards to “cogito” fallacy?

What philosophers and in what writings, if any, have attempted to explain or defend Descartes's rationalism in respect to the "cogito ergo sum" fallacy pointed out by philosophers like Russell, and ...