Questions tagged [descartes]

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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?
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Is there a flaw in my construction of Descartes' argument?

I'm having a difficult time thinking of any flaw in Descartes argument. You can coherently imagine yourself without your physical body. If you can coherently imagine X, then you have reason to ...
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331 views

Mathematics and René Descartes

Why are axioms of mathematics not recognized by René Descartes? How can they be untrue? Can we not treat them as basics which are absolute and build upon them?
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Can we doubt the existence of our thoughts and feelings? How?

I'm reading Russell's "The problems of philosophy" and he says that the only thing we can be certain about is the existence of our "Sense-data" which are mainly our thoughts and emotions. I wonder if ...
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563 views

How can Brie Gertler's disembodiment argument account for the minds of others?

I'm currently reading Brie Gertler's essay In Defense of Mind-Body Dualism. She uses Descartes' conceivability argument to make her own disembodiment argument. For example, she says someone can ...
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How did Wittgenstein reject the Cogito or Cartesian dualism? Can I get the specific sources?

I have heard of the fact that Wittgenstein rejected Cartesianism by the Private Language Argument. But the connections are not clear for me. Also I'd like to know if there is any other piece of ...
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How do “I” know that “I” think?

"Cogito, ergo sum", "I think, therefore I am", said Descartes but how does one know that one thinks? Could "my" thoughts not be part of an illusion of someone/something else? Can "I" actually know ...
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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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Cogito ergo sum

What does Descartes mean when he uses the words "thought", and "doubt", in Cogito ergo sum. Could you please give me possible interpretations and definitions of the words. As the argument progresses,...
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Did Descartes really doubt the existence of God?

I've learned about Descartes' universal doubt and as I understood it, he says mind that is supposed to interact with God isn't part of res extensa and therefore isn't part of the senses we can doubt. ...
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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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Cogito ergo sum and its actual meaning [duplicate]

I think therefore i am is often accepted as true.But how do we know that the fact we are doubting something makes us real?we can be a stimulation or be dreaming.Why is the act of thinking given so ...
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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 ...
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Is my critique and criticism of Descartes's “I think, therefore I am”, logically valid? [duplicate]

Here is my chain of reasoning and criticism regarding Descartes’s idea. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/descartes-epistemology/#2 “In the same way, I began by taking everything that was doubtful ...
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What are some good forums or places to discuss original ideas on philosophy? [closed]

I have a substantive new piece on philosophy which I discuss here: A new theory of Truth Reddit/Philosophy mods keep banning my posts for reasons they do not wish to disclose. I also discuss it in ...
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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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Descartes's cogito falls short [duplicate]

I just started learning philosophy at school, so please forgive me if what I say sounds naive or has been disproved by philosophers. Basically, the teacher said that Descartes said "I think therefore ...
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In Chalmer’s understanding, is a “philosophical zombie” roughly identical to Descartes’ automaton?

I suppose one must say, for Descartes, the automaton was specifically mechanistic. Which is a difference.
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Does Descartes' cogito require awareness of thinking?

Descartes cogito is 'I think therefore I am'. Can an ant do the same? Breaking this down, one has 'I think' and I am aware that 'I am thinking' and therefore 'I am'. One requires here it seems some ...
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How would Descartes respond to Wittgenstein's objection to radical doubt?

From what I understand, Descartes wrote refutations to criticisms made of his Meditations. I'm just interested in what he would say to Wittgenstein, who I think has the most compelling critique of ...
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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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What is the difference between Interactionism and Cartesian Dualism?

I read that Cartesian Dualism is a subtype of Interactionism but I'm still confused. Can somebody help me to clear up this matter?
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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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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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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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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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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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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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How do res cogitans and res extensa interact?

In all religions that ever existed, there is a soul and a God - two intangible things. From physics we know that there is no difference between a particle without the electrical charge, mass and ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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Is Descartes' theory wrong?

Why does Descartes say that the pineal gland in the center of the brain is the gateway between our physical bodies and mental spirits? Is there a problem with this theory?
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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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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 ...
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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 ...