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Questions tagged [descartes]

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

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free will without evil

If God is omnibenevolent and omnipotent could not we say God is capable of giving us free will without the existence of evil based on the same logic as Descartes described God's ability to lift an ...
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Have any modern philosophers redone Descartes' Meditations?

With insights we get from the cognitive sciences, and advancement in philosophy in general (such as the coherentist theory of Truth) we would definitely do the Meditations differently.
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English translation of Descartes's Notae in Programma Quoddam?

The SEP entry on Descartes (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/descartes-works/) mentions his work "Notae in Programma Quoddam." It is referred to as "Notes on a Program-also referred to as Comments ...
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Are there any certainties besides “Cogito, ergo sum”?

Descartes said, "Cogito, ergo sum(I think, therefore I am)". I agree with him on the fact that this is the only thing that we can ever truly know for sure. Is there anyone who could tell me if there ...
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Descartes and embodiment

What does "Is this enough to enable the kinds of thought that really having a body involves?" What does this mean? What does "enable" mean exactly? what does "having a body involves" mean exactly? ...
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Does Descartes identify stimulus, perception and interpretation?

Thomas Kuhn, in The Structure of Scientific Revolution, refuses the cartesian philosophical paradigm because he separates observational stiumulus from interpretation and from sensation/interpretation ...
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If Descartes was not a ‘Cartesian’ dualist, who was?

Some scholars have made the argument that a careful reading of Descartes shows (for example, see his ship-sailor-analogy) that he himself did not actually believe in a dualism of the proverbial ‘ghost ...
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89 views

What are the best translations of Descartes books?

I'm planning on reading some of Descartes' books like Meditations on First Philosophy and Discourse on Method. I was wondering what are the best translations of these books and if there are any free ...
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My first thought is always: I AM

This question is derivative of the question here: Could 'cogito ergo sum' possibly be false? It is noted by authors such as Nietzsche and Kierkegaard that there are several assumptions ...
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According to Descartes, the mind and body communicate through a tiny part of the brain (the pineal gland) where the 'common sense' is located

True or False? I'm unsure about this question because it seems like he only refers to the mind and the brain in this context, but not the body as a whole. Here's the passage: "The mind isn't ...
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What does Kuhn object to Descartes as regard to perception / interpretation?

Kuhn [1962/1970], in the chapter *Revolutions as Changes of World View *, says: […] this very usual view of what occurs when scientists change their minds about fundamental matters can be neither ...
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How can we know that we're thinking?

How can we know there isn't an illusion of thought? This question stems from Descartes' assertion of "I think, therefor I am." He regards the notion that he thinks as an absolute fact. But how does ...
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Why does the dream argument posit that the senses are untrustworthy when it's the mind that is being tricked?

According to the wiki of the dream argument, "the act of dreaming provides preliminary evidence that the senses we trust to distinguish reality from illusion should not be fully trusted, and therefore,...
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231 views

How does Descartes' “cogito, ergo sum” affect Hume's experienced based epistemology and Kant's transcendental philosophy?

My attempts so far: Descartes, being a rationalist, used "cogito, ergo sum" to lead to the concept of innate ideas. Hume, being a radical empiricist, believed in experience based epistemology. Kant ...
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148 views

Cartesian dualist and dualist

I was taught that Cartesian dualists were those who believe strongly that the mind and the body are entirely two separate entities while a dualist believes the same but also believes that the mind and ...
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Seeking a quote of Hegel on Descartes

Descartes The Passions of the Soul [1:31] suggested the pineal gland could mediate interaction between mind and body. Published works and lectures of Hegel's discuss that several times (as shown by ...
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722 views

Nietzche quoting Descartes… without source

In the Will to Power Nietzche quotes Descartes omne illud verum est, quod clare et distincte percipitur However I cannot find the quoted source. Can anyone identify it?
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Was Descartes the first one to approach metaphysics epistemologically?

In his method Descartes approaches the questions of the first philosophy, i.e. metaphysics, via the method of doubt. One could say that he has an epistemological approach, by first asking what he can ...
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Cartesian Skepticism within a Coherentist Epistemology

I recently decided that it is high time I reacquaint myself with the early moderns, and I thought there could be no better place to start with than Descartes' Mediations on First Philosophy. Reading ...
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481 views

Descartes vs Buddha - Was Descartes wrong?

Descartes imagined an Evil Demon to suggest that the external world could be a complete illusion. This Evil Demon would have the power to trick all your senses. This idea is similar to the Buddhist ...
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263 views

Which of Descartes’ arguments for the existence of God is the most successful and why?

With regards to his 3rd Meditation and 5th Meditation proofs of God, I can't seem to find any reason to see one as being more successful than the other. Mainly because while his ontological proof ...
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Descartes' Theory of Innate Ideas

Can you guys explain to me about Descartes' three levels of ideas. The first level represents mode, the second finite substance and third infinite substance. How do these three levels of ideas relate ...
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proofreadiing a paper on Descartes. Need help on line “a true physics…”

I'm copy editing a paper on Descartes written by an Italian in French and then translated into English. I need some help with a phrase she uses: "... a true physics..." I have no background in ...
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Formal versus Objective Reality in Descartes

Descartes seems to define an idea as a representational mode of thought, a mode of thought which represents a certain object. For instance, the idea of the sun is a mode of thought which represents ...
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Why did Descartes believe the physical world was determined?

What justification does he give for the idea that everything in the physical world is determined?
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Is there a flaw in my construction of Descartes' argument?

I'm having a difficult time thinking of any flaw in Descartes argument. You can coherently imagine yourself without your physical body. If you can coherently imagine X, then you have reason to ...
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Can we doubt the existence of our thoughts and feelings? How?

I'm reading Russell's "The problems of philosophy" and he says that the only thing we can be certain about is the existence of our "Sense-data" which are mainly our thoughts and emotions. I wonder if ...
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How can Brie Gertler's disembodiment argument account for the minds of others?

I'm currently reading Brie Gertler's essay In Defense of Mind-Body Dualism. She uses Descartes' conceivability argument to make her own disembodiment argument. For example, she says someone can ...
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How do “I” know that “I” think?

"Cogito, ergo sum", "I think, therefore I am", said Descartes but how does one know that one thinks? Could "my" thoughts not be part of an illusion of someone/something else? Can "I" actually know ...
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How did Wittgenstein reject the Cogito or Cartesian dualism? Can I get the specific sources?

I have heard of the fact that Wittgenstein rejected Cartesianism by the Private Language Argument. But the connections are not clear for me. Also I'd like to know if there is any other piece of ...
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967 views

Why can't I doubt that I am doubting?

Assume that doubt is meaningfully defined. Or let's say we define doubt as , both the statement under doubt, and it's complement can be true or false, we do not know, the uncertainty exists. Imagine ...
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130 views

Cogito ergo sum

What does Descartes mean when he uses the words "thought", and "doubt", in Cogito ergo sum. Could you please give me possible interpretations and definitions of the words. As the argument progresses,...
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Did Descartes really doubt the existence of God?

I've learned about Descartes' universal doubt and as I understood it, he says mind that is supposed to interact with God isn't part of res extensa and therefore isn't part of the senses we can doubt. ...
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Mathematics and René Descartes

Why are axioms of mathematics not recognized by René Descartes? How can they be untrue? Can we not treat them as basics which are absolute and build upon them?
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Cogito ergo sum and its actual meaning [duplicate]

I think therefore i am is often accepted as true.But how do we know that the fact we are doubting something makes us real?we can be a stimulation or be dreaming.Why is the act of thinking given so ...
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608 views

Is my critique and criticism of Descartes's “I think, therefore I am”, logically valid? [duplicate]

Here is my chain of reasoning and criticism regarding Descartes’s idea. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/descartes-epistemology/#2 “In the same way, I began by taking everything that was doubtful ...
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Is my argument against Descartes's “I think, therefore I am”, logically sound?

Disclaimer: I have answered each and every answer here on the comments where I think they are wrong. So far, I have not been able to find my mistake or anyone clearly admitting Descartes's. I am ...
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What are some good forums or places to discuss original ideas on philosophy? [closed]

I have a substantive new piece on philosophy which I discuss here: A new theory of Truth Reddit/Philosophy mods keep banning my posts for reasons they do not wish to disclose. I also discuss it in ...
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Descartes's cogito falls short [duplicate]

I just started learning philosophy at school, so please forgive me if what I say sounds naive or has been disproved by philosophers. Basically, the teacher said that Descartes said "I think therefore ...
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In Chalmer’s understanding, is a “philosophical zombie” roughly identical to Descartes’ automaton?

I suppose one must say, for Descartes, the automaton was specifically mechanistic. Which is a difference.
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628 views

What is the difference between Interactionism and Cartesian Dualism?

I read that Cartesian Dualism is a subtype of Interactionism but I'm still confused. Can somebody help me to clear up this matter?
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A second indubitable axiom

The axiom "I think therefore I am" is the axiom of reality that René Descartes is famous for inventing. Does anybody know of any other such axioms that cannot be disputed (at least on an individual ...
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Ontologically closed statements

"I think therefore I am" is a much disputed "proof". As an argument, it presupposes many posits. Being more cautious, one might make the claim, "I only know what I feel." Is this an ontologically ...
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Is there a flaw in Descartes' “clear and distinct” argument?

Is there a flaw in Descartes' "clear and distinct" argument regarding the separation of mind and body? I think that there is a flaw in the argument. I got this idea from an online lecture. Here is my ...
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What does Hegel think of Descartes' argument in Meditation 4?

In Meditation 4, Descartes argues that we can still regard God's creation of humans as perfect even though humans err. Descartes' arguments goes something like this: Human beings have multiple ...
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What is Malebranche's explanation for the source of human error?

An omnibenevolent God would not deceive us or cause us to be in error, thus the gifts from cannot be the source of error. Rather sin confuses our faculties and prevents us from using them as they ...
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In Wittgenstein's Picture theory, why is self-awareness (e.g. Cogito ergo sum in Descartes) not an a priori true atomic thought?

3.04 An a priori true thought would be one whose possibility guarenteed its truth. Note: I am asking about the earlier Wittgenstein and not his post-Tractatus philosophy. It is clear to me why this ...
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Descartes and why the mind is perceived more evidently than the body

So i am currently reading Descartes Second Meditation and i am not sure if i understand the wax argument, i will try to write out how i understand it and I would appreciate any input. He shows ...
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757 views

What were DesCartes's conceptions of objectivity & subjectivity?

This summary of "Descartes's Basic Epistemological Argument" indicates his usage of the terms is different than a contemporary notion of objective as regardless of an observer and subjective as ...
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Can minds exist without bodies? [closed]

IEP on Descartes' 6th meditation says how can Descartes make a legitimate inference from his independent understanding of mind and body as completely different things to their independent ...