Questions tagged [descartes]

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

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What is the bridge between Agrippa's and Descartes' mindsets? What to read to understand the radical change

After Reading a couple of works by Descartes (XVI century), I am now reading "Three Books of Occult Philosophy" by Cornelius Agrippa (around 1530). The difference in mindset and worldview is ...
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What is meant by artistic qualities and Can anyone point out some of these qualities?

What is meant by artistic qualities? Can anyone point out some of these qualities?
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Descartes and natural inclinations and aversions

Descartes mentions “secondary properties” (qualitative properties) which guide human behavior. E. g. we can not only recognize that food became spoiled by its odor but we’re immediately repelled by it....
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Descartes "I am, I exist"

At the start of the second meditation, Descartes seems to work his way to his first indubitable conclusion: "I am, I exist." A question one might ask is: "how do you know you really ...
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How did Descartes made a logical skeptic argument against logic, without falling into a paradox, in his Metaphysical Meditations? Is it actually valid

René Descartes seems to have made some arguments against logic and mathematics in his Metaphysical Meditations, however it seems that these arguments are still logical, and the problem is whether that ...
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Quotations from Descartes on Animals as Automata

Animals do not feel pain and are automata. This view is commonly attributed to Descartes. And I would agree that in his philosophy no other conclusion makes sense. But still, I want to distinguish ...
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How does idealism deal with 'discovery'?

I just responded to a comment on an old post. At the time I was thinking about Richard Dawkins and his concept of a 'meme'. That is any concept which lives rent free in the minds of humans, and ...
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Can Cogito, ergo sum be formalized?

I was wondering lately whether Descartes argument for the existence of undoubtable truth could be formalized. I tried to formalize his argument in FOL, but only his light version proving that there ...
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Large cardinals and in intellectu existence?

I have had some success in the philosophy of mathematics. Briefly I compare Cantor's sets to the clear and distinct ideas of Descartes which is regarded as philosophically rigorous work; on the other ...
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Implications of Cartesian Psychophysical Dualism for free-will and determinism

For Descartes, reality consists of two fundamental substances: the mental, and the physical. The mental substance is distinct from the physical substance in that it is not bound by the deterministic, ...
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Does my personal philosophy have a name?

I am not trained in philosophical thinking nor have I read philosophy except for the motto "I think therefore I am". My personal philosophy I know that something exists (by observation and ...
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Contributions of Descartes

What ideas did Descartes have about knowledge and reality that were so incongruent with the prevailing neo-Aristotelian paradigm of knowing the real essences of things through abstracting from sense ...
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Descartes and his taxonomy of ideas

Given the context of philosophical ideas such as tabula rasa, empiricism, and rationalism, René Descartes is known for his philosophy of mind and his attempt to analyze thinking as well as his ...
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Is thinking an activity of a subject?

I am interested in the question of whether thinking must be an activity of a subject. Is it true that thinking has no reality without being a mode of the subject? Could it be possible that there is ...
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Is there any philosophical view on translation in early modern philosophy?

Do you know of any philosophical view on translation in early modern philosophy (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz)?
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Self-evident vs. self-explanatory vs. ...?

How far apart are these descriptions? I was approaching the issue from the perspective of erotetic logic, and my intuition is that self-evidence is when a proposition is evident from its erotetic ...
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Was the notion of mind-body dualism invented, or at least popularized, by Rene Descartes?

This dualism seems so compelling (from a layman’s perspective) that it seems difficult to imagine that Descartes invented or even popularized it. For instance, people kept using words like “soul” to ...
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Does Descartes avert the divine illumination trope or play it straight?

(Preamble: according to tvtropes.com, a trope can be instantiated, meaning played straight, or almost subversively instantiated, meaning averted.) In the Book of Ezekiel, an entity known as the ...
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Why is mind/body duality so widely accepted?

It seems strange that Cartesian mind/body duality is so widely accepted, given that it leads to scepticism around the possibility of human knowledge. Why is it so widely accepted, and how do its ...
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Descartes and the concept of motion

If we believe that calculus satisfactorily solves Zeno’s paradoxes of motion, conceptual clarity about real analysis was not achieved before Cauchy's definition of the limit (in “Cours d'Analyse”, ...
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How can beliefs be justified when they are always subject to Cartesian skepticism?

It seems obvious to me that after glancing at my watch I "know" what time it is. But this apparent "knowledge" can be explained away by infinitely many skeptical hypotheses. ...
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Can’t we assume that the Boltzmann Brain scenario can be cognitively stable?

In the Boltzmann Brain scenario, we are all brains produced by random fluctuations within a high entropy universe. The argument which I had accepted before was that our very reasoning can not be ...
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Can we say that "I Think Therefore I Am" was never about "I", or thinking, or "I" doing the thinking?

Strictly speaking, "Cogito ergo sum" simply means: "The existence of your own mind can never be in doubt." Item 1) also describes our true knowledge in its entirety. Or we can ...
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Is the argument "Cogito ergo sum" compatible with metaphysical nihilism?

Metaphysical nihilism says that there might not be any objects at all. I'm not interested in whether there are potential problems with this viewpoint. One problem could be that "Cogito" can't come ...
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Which conception of a " machine " allows to call "mechanical" Descartes and Hobbes views of nature and of science?

The word "mechanical" comes from a greek word meaning " machine". However, the received definition of mechanical philosophy does not contain the concept of a machine. This school of thought is said ...
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What happened to ( aristotelian) substantial forms in cartesian ontology? On which ground ( metaphysical or physical) are they rejected?

In aristotelian philosophy, there are no bare particulars ( contrary to what is the case in Plato, according to P.V. Spade) but internally structured ( substantial) particulars in which 2 "parts"/...
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Why does Hayek refer to French 'individualism' as the "Cartesian" school?

I am reading Frederick Hayek right now and saw that he refers to the French liberal tradition, what he calls French "individualism (vs the English liberal tradition of Smith, Ferguson, Burke, etc.) ...
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Is existence a necessary condition for thinking? [closed]

Is existence a necessary condition for thinking? Descartes argues that because he thinks, he exists. But wouldn't he have to exist in the first place for him to: A) Think and B) Realize that he ...
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Does the frequent study of the history of philosophy cause us to lose critical thinking? [closed]

Does the long and frequent study of the history of philosophy cause us to lose critical thinking and philosophical insight into the issues and, as Descartes puts it, "contaminate ourselves with past ...
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In What Sense is Substance Epistemically Prior?

In Metaphysics Z (1028a32), Aristotle outlines different senses in which a substance can be considered to be "first": there are several senses in which a thing is said to be first; yet substance is ...
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Does Existence Belong to the Nature of Substance?

In Proposition 7, Part I of the Ethics Spinoza claims: Existence belongs to the nature of substance. This means that substance exists necessarily or, to put it even simpler, that each substance ...
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Where does Descartes actually make his argument from doubt for mind-body distinction?

In Meditations II, we see Descartes make the assertion that he must exist whenever he thinks "I think, I am", and the existence of the thinking thing is undoubtable. But as he can still doubt the ...
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Did Descartes believe arguments for Euclid's parallel postulate were cogent?

If Descartes wanted to found philosophy on the certainty of mathematics, it seems he must have considered arguments for Euclid's parallel postulate cogent, or at least not doubted them. Gerolamo ...
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Are concepts, such as neoliberalism, essentially contested?

Gallie proposed that many philosophical concepts are contested, ambiguous and murky. However, it has also been argued that since antiquity, philosophers are good at conceptual analysis. Especially ...
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Was there a "mechanist" program of early rationalists, like Descartes and Leibniz?

Leibniz and Descartes are said to put forth "mechanist philosophies," but I am having trouble identifying what "mechanist" means. Does it involve their affinity to natural science and mathematics and ...
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What is the difference between Frege's and Descartes' theory of ideas?

Frege discusses the ideas (Vorstellungen) in Logical Investigations part I: Thoughts. Descartes discusses the ideas (the imagination) in Meditation VI. We have to find a similarity and a difference ...
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Why was Descartes' Demon "Evil"?

Why did Descartes called his thought experiment "evil demon"? What if we lived in a simulation that turned out to be more pleasant than reality itself (eg. The matrix series) and it would be better ...
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Is 'cogito ergo sum' an example of begging the question?

Could Descartes' assertion that it's self-evident that a "self" exists be seen as an example of begging the question, because in his attempt to understand existence, he seems to define it as, in part, ...
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Rationalism and Catholicism / Protestantism

How much more “incompatible” was rationalism with Catholicism compared to Protestant christianity? Of course everyone learned in high school that the enlightenment was in direct opposition to ...
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Descartes’ innate idea of extension

Can you give the most clear and self-contained quote out of Descartes’ works where he states that extension is an innate idea? I’ve read the third meditation again, but I didn’t anything easily ...
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Serious arguments against skepticism about the external world?

As we all know, Kant wrestled with Cartesian skepticism for a long time. And of course, Descartes himself did, but he appeals to a version of the ontological argument which is not very persuasive. ...
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Sum ergo cogito?

Following Descartes but in the opposite direction: I exist. Something has made the assertion in the previous sentence and must have thought it to do so. Therefore my thoughts exist. Combining with ...
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How does Descartes argue that mind and body are different substances if mind can exist without a body?

How does Descartes argue that mind and body are different substances if mind can exist without a body? I think he does this in meditation II Descartes’ argument so far is that minds can exist ...
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why "I think therefore I am" not "I think therefore I am thinking"? [duplicate]

why "thinking" jumped into the conclusion of "existence" as things can exist without thinking too. and what are all the other method except this that could prove our existence?
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Is the beginning of Hegel's philosophy an example of foundationalism?

one preliminary remark: this post could be of interest to anyone engaging with the thought of Hegel (especially his theoretical philosophy) or who is interested in fundamental metaphysical problems. ...
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Questions on Descartes' Certainty? [closed]

1)What is the certainty that Descartes discovers in the Second Meditation? 2)What does Descartes go on to attempt to prove in the Third Meditation and how is this proof related to what was ...
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Descartes’s skepticism of the external world and belief in God

There is this popular opinion that Descartes overcame his notorious doubt in the existence of the external world because of his conviction that a benevolent God exists, who wouldn’t deceive him in ...
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What are some differences between Avicenna and Descartes in regards to being unable to doubt one's own existence

Given Descartes' Cogito and Avicenna's Floating Man arguments, what are some differences between them? It appears to me that they are both arriving to the same conclusion but the process by which they ...
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Does Kant’s argument against idealism refute Cartesian epistemology?

While Kant arguably manages to show in section 65 of the Critique of Pure Reason (“Refutation of Idealism”) that the concept of a self existing through time cannot be reconciled with skepticism of the ...
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What Latin phrase did Descartes use to denote his Cartesian demon

I'm referring to the "evil demon", "malicious demon", "evil genius", etc, depending on translation. I'm looking for the original latin phrase.
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