Questions tagged [descartes]

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

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126 views

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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101 views

Descartes and the concept of motion

Even if we believe that calculus satisfactorily solves Zeno's paradoxes, we can't earnestly say that conceptual clarity was achieved before Cauchy's definition of the limit in the 19th century. For ...
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49 views

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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46 views

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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108 views

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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48 views

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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29 views

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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46 views

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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14 views

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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69 views

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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220 views

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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32 views

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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97 views

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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43 views

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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83 views

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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174 views

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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267 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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81 views

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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619 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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5answers
395 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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370 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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88 views

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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3answers
296 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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1k 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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272 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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103 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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140 views

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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125 views

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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153 views

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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104 views

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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116 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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137 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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183 views

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 support ...
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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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174 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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579 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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109 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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4answers
2k 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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1answer
62 views

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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1answer
57 views

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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1k 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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246 views

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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76 views

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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245 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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159 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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134 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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145 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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1answer
2k 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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211 views

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 ...