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

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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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17 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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81 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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2answers
81 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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3answers
274 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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1answer
85 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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3answers
128 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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112 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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1answer
126 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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31 views

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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65 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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1answer
144 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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57 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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1answer
126 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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1answer
60 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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1answer
32 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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233 views

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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69 views

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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79 views

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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80 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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1answer
258 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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5answers
843 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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1answer
194 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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277 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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277 views

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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1answer
435 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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1answer
287 views

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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3answers
256 views

“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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1answer
165 views

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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4answers
552 views

“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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1answer
179 views

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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197 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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1answer
141 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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1answer
185 views

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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5answers
395 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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393 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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1answer
188 views

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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3answers
1k views

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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420 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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18answers
6k views

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. ...