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

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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 ...
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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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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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100 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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42 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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120 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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50 views

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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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 ...
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Kant and Hume on Cartesian conception of the self

Both Kant and Hume wrote against Cartesian idea that the conscious experience can lead us to know that we exist as immaterial thinking matters. I've understood that both reject his idea and agree on ...
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What are Kant's critiques of Hume's and Descartes's conceptions of the self?

What are Kant's critiques of Descartes's conception of the self contained in the Metaphysical Meditations and of Hume's conception of the self expressed in the Essay concerning human understanding? ...
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76 views

Objective reality vs. illusion in Descartes' time

Descartes' argument for god includes his idea of "objective reality", id est, clear and distinct perception implies existence. Considering his own scientific bent of mind, I'm curious to know what he ...
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225 views

Descartes and Montaigne

My history professor recently told us that Michel de Montaigne—who I had never heard of before—had many of Descartes's ideas before Descartes did and that most of Descartes's arguments were not very ...
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650 views

Can our sense of touch deceive us?

Descartes says that the senses deceive us. I agree for all senses, except for the tactile sense (i.e., when you touch something). It's clear there are optical illusions, but there appear to be no ...
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191 views

How does Descartes make contact with the world?

Descartes' cogito allows him to deny extreme sceptism; but then how does he actually make contact with the world as opposed to saying - I exist and the world is my (unconscious) invention -, i.e. ...
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63 views

Who else besides Spinoza has described how to resolve Descartes separation of thought and matter?

Descarte famously divided thought from matter and placed them in separate realms. Spinoza put them together by placing them within God as the two modes - thought and extension - that are visible to ...
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265 views

Does the Simulation Argument differ in essence from the Evil Genius puzzle?

I recently read an article that suggested we might be able to determine if we are part of a computer simulation run by our descendants. The idea seemed far-fetched, but after looking around, I see ...
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Does Cogito ergo sum need to be more specific?

Something about my translation has bothered me since I originally posted my question (which follows below). It concerns what Bertrand Russell wrote in "On Denoting". Ryno indicated a circularity with ...
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405 views

Does Descartes prove that he isn't dreaming?

I had a midterm question where this was relevant, essentially it was: "Assuming you're an atheist, how would you prove to Descartes that your last vacation wasn't a dream?" I put that since ...
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Relativism and 'I think, therefore I am'

I'm no philosopher and haven't extensively read or studied any philosophers. I've recently been reading up a little on relativism and what it means and I'm a little confused about to what it is ...
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“I think, therefore I am” - How does “I” establish “I” before “I” can “think”?

The famous Cogito ergo sum opens with "I" can think, therefore "I" am. How does "I" establish "I" before "I" can "think"? in other words how did "I" establish "I" before it could think in the first ...
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Descartes's concept of the Immutability of the Divine Will

According to the abstract of this article1, ... Descartes' God acts by a single immutable will for all eternity, and there is no sense in which it is possible for Him to will or to have willed ...
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“Because if you doubt that you're doubting, you're still doubting” - What is the analogous mathematical/logical expression to this sentence?

In an answer here, the following was stated: The essence of his [Descartes] argument is that you can doubt almost everything about the world, but you can't doubt that you're doubting. Because if ...
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What were Descartes's justifications for the human ability to doubt, and why did he think it was so important?

In his Meditations on First Philosophy, Rene Descartes resolved to systematically doubt that any of his beliefs were true. This was done in order to build a system of belief that would consist of only ...
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185 views

Is Descarte putting the cart before the horse when he says 'cogito ergo sum'?

Famously Descartes said 'Cogito ergo sum'. I'm a bit puzzled by this. I do not need to think in order to assert/understand/intuit that I exist: when I wake up in the morning I immediately intuit that ...
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129 views

Is the Cartesian methodological doubt deeply flawed?

In order to acquire irrefutable knowledge, Descartes first doubted everything, even the existence of an external world. Then, starting from the "cogito, ergo sum", he started proving the existence of ...
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Has Descartes also been analyzed from a psychological point of view, including the circumstances of his time?

One way to look at "cogito ergo sum" is as an interesting intellectual thought. But Descartes clearly indicates that he actually had this thought in winter 1619 under very special circumstances: I ...
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389 views

Has there been a Cartesian revolution in mathematics?

In his book "Méthodes modernes en géométrie", Jean Fresnel wrote: il ne faut pas se faire d'illusions, Descartes résout des problème de géométrie, non parce qu'il a de la méthode, mais parce ...
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361 views

Did Wittgenstein's maxim about doubt and knowing originate from Descartes?

Wittgenstein said, "If you cannot doubt a thing, you cannot know it." For example he said that you cannot know your pain because you cannot doubt that you are in pain. I don't quite understand this ...
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Underlying logical structure behind Descartes' Ontological argument?

Quoting SEP: Version A: Whatever I clearly and distinctly perceive to be contained in the idea of something is true of that thing. I clearly and distinctly perceive that necessary ...
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What is the modern solution to the mind-body problem for those who still hold the mind is separate?

René Descartes gave us the problem of how the mind interacts with the body in its modern formulation. Essentially, he asked how the incorporeal mind was able to influence the material body. He also ...
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408 views

Does the concept of existence entail the concept of death?

Does the concept of existence entail the concept of death? I am asking this because many philosophers have tried to prove the existence of god (Descartes through the Meditations) by saying that he ...
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Could 'cogito ergo sum' possibly be false?

I've heard it postulated by some people that "we can't truly know anything". While that does seem to apply to the vast majority of things, I can't see how 'cogito ergo sum' can possibly be false. ...