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

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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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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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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 Meditations: Clear and distinct perceptions

I'm wondering in Descartes Meditations, 1.when does he first say that "whatever can be clearly and distinctly perceived is true"? 2.How does he move from the mere fact that "I exists and I'm a ...
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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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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 ...
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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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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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124 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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138 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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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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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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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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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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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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227 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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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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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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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 ...