Questions tagged [descartes]

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

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76
votes
19answers
33k 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. ...
10
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5answers
646 views

How far can/should one press philosophical doubt?

Should we keep on questioning until nothing is left to question or is there a point on which we need to stand (which we often tend to do)? Descartes used 'I think' as this fixed point where the ...
1
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6answers
5k views

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 ...
9
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1answer
931 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 ...
9
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3answers
1k 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 ...
6
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3answers
488 views

How does Descartes use god in his Meditations?

How does Descartes use god to avoid answering certain questions directly?
6
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1answer
3k views

How does Descartes determine that the idea of God has more objective reality than finite substance?

Descartes's third meditation, which sets out to prove the existence of God from previous considerations, confuses me greatly. Descartes appears to be trying to make an argument that the source must ...
1
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1answer
1k 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 ...
1
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2answers
166 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 ...
17
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3answers
5k 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 ...
6
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6answers
7k 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 ...
5
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4answers
409 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 ...
5
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3answers
832 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 ...
4
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2answers
677 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 ...
2
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1answer
704 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 ...
2
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1answer
722 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 ...
1
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2answers
9k views

What is res in res cogitans or res extensa?

Substance is that which has no dependent relation on any other; and unlike an atom, is infinitely differentiable - it has parts; and those parts thus distinguished have relations amongst themselves; ...
6
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4answers
216 views

Can there be intention without an intender?

Many refutations of Descartes cogito go along the line of: All Descartes really proved is that thinking is happening, but there can be thinking without there being a thinker to do the thinking. Just ...
5
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5answers
878 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 ...
4
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2answers
181 views

What historical or doctrinal problems provoked Descartes' “Cogito”?

Descartes' Meditations and Discourse apply a radical scepticism towards knowledge in order to finally refute it, founding certainty on the immediacy of self-knowledge, usually considered the great ...
4
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1answer
75 views

What is a simple book summarizing Cartesian philosophy?

I know a bit of French, so I can read Descartes' work directly, but I would prefer to start with a simple book which summarizes descartes' philosophy.
4
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4answers
315 views

Who was Descartes trying to refute when he came up with his cogito?

The IEP article on Descartes states that Descartes states that his purpose in showing that the human mind or soul is really distinct from the body is to refute those “irreligious people” who only ...
3
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2answers
192 views

How have philosophers from Descartes to Kant understood the soul?

Modern philosophy, beginning with Descartes, raises issues of mind-body dualism, rationalism and empiricism, idealism and materialism. Yet most modern philosophers at least through Kant continued to ...
3
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4answers
135 views

Metaphysically, what comes before the cognitive ability to make distinctions?

Descartes, for example, makes the distinction between body and mind by recognizing the body as an idea born from 'extension' and the mind as an idea born from 'consciousness'. He further recognizes '...
2
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2answers
739 views

Besides the Cartesian Circle, what flaws are there in Descartes' use of God

Apart from the circular argument in meditations III where he states that he has a clear distinct idea of god therefore he must exist and that since god exists and he is not a deceiver he can make ...
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2answers
707 views

Can 'I think, therefore I am' be reduced to 'I, therefore I am'?

Indeed, the thinking activity of a reflective person presupposes such a 'reflective person'. What I observe is that there are certain attributes or characteristics in words, words like 'think', '...
1
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2answers
146 views

Why do some philosophers argue that we do not know, a priori, that something thinks?

The Cartesian argument seems to explicate the fact that I necessarily know that something thinks, and that I necessarily know that something thinks even if I don't checking the world to verify whether ...
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6answers
1k views

Have Descartes' arguments for dualism been entirely refuted by modern neuroscience and information theory?

From the IEP article on Dualism: Decartes argues that the mind is indivisible because it lacks extension. The body, as an object that takes up space, can always be divided (at least conceptually), ...