Questions tagged [descartes]

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

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238 views

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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473 views

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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206 views

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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322 views

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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203 views

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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755 views

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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170 views

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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100 views

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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98 views

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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90 views

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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Where to find Descartes’ violin player analogy?

I really tried finding the original passage where Descartes lays out the following argument: Descartes himself anticipated an objection like this and argued that dependence does not strongly ...
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60 views

Why isn't Descartes using psychologism?

Descartes says "I think therefore I am", isn't he using psychologism, by using a personal experience of thinking? I had read someone claim he was against foundationalism, or specifically psychologism....
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123 views

What if the Evil Genius in Descartes' “I think therefore I am” put into our minds the action of doubting?

I am briefly aware of Descartes' argument that even if an Evil Genius made us believe that the world is real the fact that we can doubt this shows that we are thinking and that through thought we can ...
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340 views

What is Descartes arguing for in the text below?

Now it is indeed evident by the light of nature that there must be at least as much [reality] in the efficient and total cause as there is in the effect of that same cause. For whence, I ask, could an ...
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101 views

Does Descartes' internalism make him vulnerable to scepticism?

I've been reading about internalism and externalism and their responses to scepticism. I'm aware that many regard internalism as more susceptible to a sceptical attack than externalism, for example ...
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1k views

What does Descartes mean by thinking?

He says, that he cannot think that he is thinking while actually not thinking. So, the fact that he thinks that he is thinking already guarantees that he thinks. But what kind of thinking is it? Does ...
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Does Descartes explain or define how the sensation mechanism works?

Especially in Meditation 2, Descartes uses "sense", "sensation" many times when he argues for the mind-body distinction. But does he explain the sensation mechanism? I wonder this because it seems to ...
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Descartes on Llull's logic

I recall from readng long ago that Descartes described Llull's logic as something that would allow one to speak on many subjects without knowing any of them That quote from Bonner, Art and logic ...
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562 views

Why does Descartes think that we know our mind better than we know our body?

According to Descartes we know our own mind better than we know bodies. Why does he think so? How can this view be criticized?
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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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201 views

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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140 views

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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131 views

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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130 views

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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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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221 views

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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301 views

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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671 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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295 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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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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Does the existence of an infinite multi-verse constitute “grounding of scientific law”?

I'm taking a modern philosophy class and my teacher has talked about the a lot about the grounding of scientific law as well as whether it is necessary or contingent. For example, Descartes used his "...
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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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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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736 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?