11 votes

Is my argument against Descartes's "I think, therefore I am", logically sound?

Disclaimer, some of this post may not make sense to you, as the OP has rewritten his argument numerous times, and I am not deleting any of this so, skip to the end for newest most relevant information....
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  • 329
10 votes

How far can/should one press philosophical doubt?

Descartes was the modern founder of what is called foundationalism about knowledge, the idea that we must find a secure self-evident ground from which all the rest of our knowledge can be justified. ...
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  • 40.7k
10 votes
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Sum ergo cogito?

Does thinking imply existing? Descartes argues yes: it is impossible for anything to think which does not exist. Does existing imply thinking? Most people would say no. Most would say that a rock ...
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  • 1,205
8 votes

Was there a "mechanist" program of early rationalists, like Descartes and Leibniz?

Mechanist (or mechanical) philosophy, in the original sense, meant the rejection of "substantial forms", i.e. forms with causal powers, such as souls, postulated by scholastics (who drew on some vague ...
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7 votes

How does Descartes use god in his Meditations?

Following John Cottingham, I would suggest the answer has to do with what is called the "Cartesian Circle." While Descartes is often associated with radical doubt, the reality is that his Meditations ...
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7 votes
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Descartes' Demon

Many would are argue that you are right, the demon is still successful in his deception. DesCartes claims in the cogito that he has proven the existence of an "I", since for there to be deception, ...
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7 votes
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Nietzche quoting Descartes... without source

Descartes' Meditations (1641), III.2 : illud omne esse verum, quòd valde clare & distincte percipio. John Veitch English translation of 1901 : all that is very clearly and distinctly ...
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7 votes

Rationalism and Catholicism / Protestantism

To suggest a different perspective, Whitehead writes the following: (page 8-9) The Reformation and the scientific movement were two aspects of the historical revolt which was the dominant ...
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6 votes
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How does Descartes determine that the idea of God has more objective reality than finite substance?

The distinction between formal and objective reality in Descartes is elucidated on Brown's web page. Formal reality refers to the reality of an object by virtue of the kind of thing it is (infinite, ...
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6 votes
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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?

The thing is, that for the early Wittgenstein the Cogito Ergo Sum was just not true. So the Cogito could not be true a priori for him. Like David Hume, Wittgenstein believed that the Cartesian Ego, ...
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6 votes
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A second indubitable axiom

You have actually anticipated Descartes himself in this question. After he established his own existence, as a mind, a thinking being, with the Cogito (I think therefore I am) he proceeded to ask ...
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6 votes
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What Latin phrase did Descartes use to denote his Cartesian demon

From meditation 1: , sed genium aliquem malignum eundemque summe potentem et callidum omnem suam industriam in eo posuisse, ut me falleret: (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/23306/23306-h/23306-h.htm)...
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5 votes

Descartes argument on animals

As a man of science Descartes wanted to give every phenomenon a naturalistic explanation, and hence to explain animals and humans behavior using a reduction to the way machines work. Yet, as a ...
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5 votes
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Roko's Basilisk as Descartes' evil genius?

Yes, of course. This idea is most famously discussed in Nick Bostrom's Are You Living in a Computer Simulation? Note that "Roko's Basilisk" is doing no real work for you here – you don't need any ...
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5 votes
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Who was Descartes trying to refute when he came up with his cogito?

The charge of atheism was a "living" issue in Reanaissance and Early Modern philosophy; see at least : Natural Philosophy in the Renaissance Pietro Pomponazzi Francesco Patrizi and of ...
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5 votes
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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?

See : Note on references and abbreviations: References to Descartes' works as found herein use the pagination of the Adam and Tannery volumes (AT), Oeuvres de Descartes, 11 vols. The citations give ...
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5 votes

Descartes and feral children

Descartes believed in the theory of innate ideas, the theory that not all of our knowledge is from education and experience and at least some of our knowledge is knowledge that we are born with. ...
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5 votes
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What does Hegel think of Descartes' argument in Meditation 4?

Hegel comments negatively on this argument in Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion (vol 1. p. 227) It is frequently said that in his will man is infinite; while in his understanding, his power of ...
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5 votes
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Did Descartes really doubt the existence of God?

The answer depends on the meaning of "really". The structure of Meditations is that Descartes sets out to doubt everything, no holes barred. At this point he is presumably doubting the ...
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5 votes
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Was Descartes the first one to approach metaphysics epistemologically?

If we invoke Descartes we should remember that he uses the Ontological Argument - or his own version of that protean argument. The original Ontological Argument as deployed by St Anselm (1077 or 1078 ...
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5 votes
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free will without evil

Alvin Plantinga has argued that even an omnipotent God might not be able to create a world in which free creatures always 'go right', and never morally wrong ('evil') in their chosen actions. Free ...
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5 votes

Descartes on Llull's logic

Discours de la méthode (1637), Second Partie, page 18 [Édition Adam et Tannery] : en les examinant, je pris garde que, pour la Logique, ses syllogismes & la pluspart de ses autres instructions ...
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5 votes
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Where to find Descartes’ violin player analogy?

There is a Corpus Descartes that allows to search for a word in all of his writings. It seems however that there is no "violon/ist/" or closely related item. Searching for "instrument" gives a ...
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4 votes
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How would Descartes respond to Wittgenstein's objection to radical doubt?

Descartes: The cogito works most reliably for an actually existing sufficiently rational subject. A madman could try radically doubt everything at the same time. In that case it can happen that the ...
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4 votes

In regard to Rene Descartes' Meditations, if there existed an all powerful evil demon, why couldn't it trick you into believing you exist?

You seem to be misunderstanding how Descartes handle the evil demon. He agrees with the force of your upper question: If it is all powerful, why can't it trick you into thinking you exist and have ...
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4 votes
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Whose major work was influenced by Descartes?

Well it's hard to name a single book since Descartes heavily impacted all of western philosophy. A major work heavily influenced by Descartes would be The Monadology by Gottfried Leibniz. But there ...
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4 votes
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Sartre and the cogito

Sartre did use the expression "existence precedes essence" as a motto, but his implied critical target was not Aristotle's general essence theory. It was, rather, the specific idea of human nature. ...
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