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Questions tagged [descartes]

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

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What are Kant's critiques of Hume's and Descartes's conceptions of the self?

What are Kant's critiques of Descartes's conception of the self contained in the Metaphysical Meditations and of Hume's conception of the self expressed in the Essay concerning human understanding? ...
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Objective reality vs. illusion in Descartes' time

Descartes' argument for god includes his idea of "objective reality", id est, clear and distinct perception implies existence. Considering his own scientific bent of mind, I'm curious to know what he ...
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Descartes and Montaigne

My history professor recently told us that Michel de Montaigne—who I had never heard of before—had many of Descartes's ideas before Descartes did and that most of Descartes's arguments were not very ...
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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 ...
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1answer
427 views

How does Descartes make contact with the world?

Descartes' cogito allows him to deny extreme sceptism; but then how does he actually make contact with the world as opposed to saying - I exist and the world is my (unconscious) invention -, i.e. ...
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87 views

Who else besides Spinoza has described how to resolve Descartes separation of thought and matter?

Descarte famously divided thought from matter and placed them in separate realms. Spinoza put them together by placing them within God as the two modes - thought and extension - that are visible to ...
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980 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 ...
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429 views

Does Cogito ergo sum need to be more specific?

Something about my translation has bothered me since I originally posted my question (which follows below). It concerns what Bertrand Russell wrote in "On Denoting". Ryno indicated a circularity with ...
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1answer
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Does Descartes prove that he isn't dreaming?

I had a midterm question where this was relevant, essentially it was: "Assuming you're an atheist, how would you prove to Descartes that your last vacation wasn't a dream?" I put that since ...
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1answer
963 views

Relativism and 'I think, therefore I am'

I'm no philosopher and haven't extensively read or studied any philosophers. I've recently been reading up a little on relativism and what it means and I'm a little confused about to what it is ...
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3answers
886 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 ...
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531 views

Descartes's *Cogito* from a modern, rigorous perspective

In Descartes's Meditations, in order to establish a firm foundation upon which he could build a framework to determine philosophical and material truths, he begins by removing all of his then-current ...
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269 views

Descartes's concept of the Immutability of the Divine Will

According to the abstract of this article1, ... Descartes' God acts by a single immutable will for all eternity, and there is no sense in which it is possible for Him to will or to have willed ...
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“Because if you doubt that you're doubting, you're still doubting” - What is the analogous mathematical/logical expression to this sentence?

In an answer here, the following was stated: The essence of his [Descartes] argument is that you can doubt almost everything about the world, but you can't doubt that you're doubting. Because if ...
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What were Descartes's justifications for the human ability to doubt, and why did he think it was so important?

In his Meditations on First Philosophy, Rene Descartes resolved to systematically doubt that any of his beliefs were true. This was done in order to build a system of belief that would consist of only ...
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696 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 ...
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752 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 ...
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1answer
275 views

Has Descartes also been analyzed from a psychological point of view, including the circumstances of his time?

One way to look at "cogito ergo sum" is as an interesting intellectual thought. But Descartes clearly indicates that he actually had this thought in winter 1619 under very special circumstances: I ...
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Has there been a Cartesian revolution in mathematics?

In his book "Méthodes modernes en géométrie", Jean Fresnel wrote: il ne faut pas se faire d'illusions, Descartes résout des problème de géométrie, non parce qu'il a de la méthode, mais parce qu'...
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Did Wittgenstein's maxim about doubt and knowing originate from Descartes?

Wittgenstein said, "If you cannot doubt a thing, you cannot know it." For example he said that you cannot know your pain because you cannot doubt that you are in pain. I don't quite understand this ...
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Underlying logical structure behind Descartes' Ontological argument?

Quoting SEP: Version A: Whatever I clearly and distinctly perceive to be contained in the idea of something is true of that thing. I clearly and distinctly perceive that necessary ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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. ...