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Questions tagged [descartes]

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

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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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878 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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196 views

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 ...
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Descartes' views on species

What were Descartes' views on species? Did he ever say something about this subject? Was it more like the Aristotelian conception of immutable “groups” (without the metaphysical Aristotelian concept ...
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Descartes Wax Example (second meditation)

Descartes provides insightful thinking on the nature of substance using the wax example. I was wondering if there are any other philosophers who took the wax example and suggested other questions on ...
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Has Descartes interpreted the rational mind as res cogitans?

I've read several description of the Descartes' dualism but I'm still not really sure: Does Descartes comprehend the human rational mind, human psychology - the part of thinking that is not ...
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Descartes and feral children

How can the slow learning progress of feral children be explained by Descartes? I believe he said that if we don't know something or believe something wrong, it is because we are choosing wrongly (I ...
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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 ...
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900 views

Clear and distinct

Descartes talks about clear and distinct perceptions, in which clear means 'what is present and accessible to the attentive mind' and distinct means 'being clear and sharply seperated from all other ...
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Regarding Descartes' proof of God?

One of Descartes' proofs of God's existence is that we can think of a perfect being, while being imperfect, so the perfect being has to have implanted the idea of Him in us and thus is real. But I can ...
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772 views

Descartes and existence

What does it mean to exist for Descartes? Of course I know about cogito ergo sum, but is that all there is to it? Is the only criterion to exist to be able to think? Or is there more to it? And if it ...
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what is the difference between Descartes and Quentin Meillassoux in understanding the term of “Cogito”?

Having read Quentin Meillassoux's 《After Finitude》, I am still quite puzzled by the way he illustrating the 'Cogito, ergo sum' as his start-point to criticize on Kant. Kant established the ...
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Did Descartes view “cogito ergo sum” as applying only to himself?

I'm not a philosophical expert, but I'm wondering. Isn't it contradictory that Descartes, using his cogito, wants to both (a) prove that he exists and is uncertain of others and (b) provides a proof ...
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How are the relation between monads formed?

So each person is a monad, and there is no causation between monads. Perception occurs as a result of aggregation of monads. The aggregation between them gives the perception. My question is, if each ...
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How do I read the SEP citations for a particular author where there are numbers at the end of the sentence as a citation?

How do I read the SEP citations for a particular author where there are numbers at the end of the sentence as a citation? An example from the SEP article on Descartes: "Descartes had a different ...
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What does Descartes mean by God could alter the truth of mathematical theorems, but not laws of nature?

Stumbled upon this statement in Stephen Hawking & Leonard Mlodinow's The Grand Design According to Descartes, God could at will alter the truth or falsity of ethical propositions or ...
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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 ...
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Has anyone claimed that the cartesian ego is a necessary condition to any mind?

Has anyone claimed that the Cartesian ego, by which I mean the ability to reflect, from which I may be able to deduce that "I am", is a necessary component of any mind?
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For Descartes, is “res cogitans” : “res extensa” :: “ens rationis” : “ens reale”?

For Descartes, would the following analogy hold? res cogitans : res extensa :: ens rationis : ens reale Or did Descartes distinguish the terms res cogitans from ens rationis and res extensa from ens ...
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To question that error is impossible, what must we do?

As we have learned from Descartes (even though he himself seems sometimes to lose sight of this lesson in the later stages of the Meditations), it is very hard to find beliefs for which there is not ...
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Looking at Descartes, does the temporality of consciousness justify doubt in it?

Let's look again at Descartes' cogito argument: “let him [the deceiving demon] deceive me as much as he can, he will never bring it about that I am nothing so long as I think that I am something. ...
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How is Descartes Sure of Things When He is “Attending” to Them?

On SparkNotes, Rene Descartes apparently knows some things to be true as long as he is "attending" to them. These clear and distinct perceptions are only indubitable so long as he is attending to ...
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How was Descartes sure that his doubt was his own?

We recently studied about Descartes in school and my teacher said that Descartes was a sceptic, he doubted everything and had an idea of creator who decieves us. But the only thing he didn't doubt ...
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for Descartes, God is guarantee of truth, why do i make mistakes?

Descartes uses intellect to prove that God is the guarantee of the truth, and disproving the evil demon. But if this is true, why when i make purely intellectual reasoning, (because i can make a ...
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184 views

Do we have free will? And is the world we observe an illusion? [closed]

Why do we assume a physical world really exists? How do we not know that all there is are ideas and perceptions and we are deceived? Descartes using his hyperbolic doubt method had to doubt everything ...
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208 views

An absolute truth

In 1976 Antoine Léonard Thomas wrote paraphrasing Rene Descartes: I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am. My question is, is there anything else, built on such basic concepts, that has been ...
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Does Cartesianism really affect our present-day culture?

Are the ideas of Cartesian philosophy (example of an old and well known ideology that clearly hasn't impact just because people read it) really so spead throughout the present-day Western culture, ...
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How does Descartes understand the levels of formal reality?

There is a cup of coffee in front of me. In my mind, I have an idea of the cup of coffee. Explain how Descartes would understand the levels of formal reality (and objective reality, if it applies) of ...
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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 '...
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Why did René Descartes opine that languages are 'fruits of study', but oratory and poetry 'gifts of the mind'?

Preface: Thinking this a question on Linguistics, I first posed on Linguistics SE but was redirected here. Source: p 76, Philosophy ; A Very Short Introduction (2002) by Edward Craig. Admittedly, ...
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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 ...
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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.
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'God exists and does not deceive us': Why is this necessary for memory of proofs?

Source: p 38, Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy (1 ed, 1999) by Simon Blackburn Caution: I modified Blackburn's syntax and organisation to ameliorate readability; I added all numbering. ...
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In which books does Descartes propose his ideas about mind-body dualism?

In which books does Descartes propose his ideas about mind-body dualism?
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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 ...
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What does it mean to say that Kant has a twofold ontology?

What does it mean to say that Kant has a twofold ontology? If indeed he does have a twofold ontology. Is that like Descartes' res extensa and res cogitans?
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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), ...
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Does the famous Descartes quote “dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum” suggests secure knowledge of ones existence?

After a discussion about the "difficulties to distinguish knowledge from faith" someone replied to me that the quote implies faith because it uses the word "think". But as it is generally understood: ...
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What is the contraposition of “I think therefore I am”?

It's known that Descartes was someone who believed in a God but isn't the contrapositive of "I think therefore I am" an atheistic notion. That is -I am not therefore I do not think- meaning if one ...
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638 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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How does Descartes use god in his Meditations?

How does Descartes use god to avoid answering certain questions directly?
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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 ...
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Which substance is time associated with in Descartes' philosophy, mental or corporeal?

Descartes asserts that all that there is that is directly cognisable to us, by mind or by eye, are modifications of two substances: res cogitans and res extensa, mental and corporeal. How does he ...
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How does Descartes justify his supposition that 'motion' is conserved?

In Newtonian physics the law of the conservation of momentum is deduced from the three laws - and it is specific and quantitative; which follows from the specificity and quantitiveness of the three ...