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Descartes Meditations 1-2.docx

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Richard Brown

Descartes and First Meditation Descartes is known is to be the father of modern philosophy because he represents a revolution Philosophers first question is how do I know Descartes was a sick boy and doctors expected him to die young attended Jesuit school and studied theology, philosophy, astronomy, sciences and mathematics Mathematics had a special certainty applied a mathematical approach to philosophy to give it more validity He became a volunteer in the Dutch army Descartes meditated and wrote 6 meditations and 6 replies from Hobbes Descartes believed that every person should dedicate to imagination September 1649 Queen Christiana wanted private instruction from Descartes Caught pneumonia and died in 1650 Descartes: Meditation One About the things we may doubt. The text is autobiographical and in first person singular, we as readers are supposed to meditate reason and think with Descartes Descartes says once in ones lifetime you should destroy or get rid of your former opinions and beliefs that can be called in to question and doubt even if the doubt is small Insofar as it is possible everything should be doubted once in a lifetime.. setting aside everything to the least doubt as if I found it was completely false Things which are doubtful should consider if were false to make philosophy. Lasting enduring just like the sciences Descartes wants philosophy to be un-doubtable and certain Descartes says philosophy needs to be built on a solid foundation, to put philosophy on a building that cannot be shattered Descartes unlike Archimedes is looking for a way to construct his philosophy like science Descartes is going to assess reason To assess reason (How?) By means of reason (Why?) In order obtain some general rule of evidence Is the particular perception true or false? Descartes suggests we think of a basket full of apples rather than assessing bad apples than we should dump all the apples before putting the apples back in we need to examine the basket Descartes asks on what general principles do all my former opinions and beliefs rest on What are the foundations of opinions and realities All that needs to happen is to test all the principles called methodic doubt and systematic doubt the overturning of a single principle Overturning common sense realism or naïve realism The belief that all knowledge comes from or through the senses all knowledge acquired through knowledge or through the senses this means Descartes is accepting the ways of empiricism also believes that things are exactly how they appear to be and they appear to be exactly as they are Because Descartes says we can doubt common sense and naïve realism and can demonstrate that the senses are not always truthful even is there is a small amount of doubt you have to demonstrate that it is false Descartes is going to draw a distinction between two kinds of doubt which are real doubts that are real doubts we all actually have Metaphysical doubts Hyperbolic doubts They are simply logical extensions of their real doubts Senses can deceive All knowledge come through the senses Sometimes on occasion my senses do deceive me when things are far away or are very small. When external perception are not ideal When external conditions are ideal you cannot possibly deny certain things First metaphysical doubt Descartes says I can doubt the truth of exception even when external exceptions, only when the internal exceptions are not ideal i.e if you are a lunatic Descartes would not be able to proceed with his assumptions if the lunatic were true, if you doubt you are not a rational person The lunatic hypotheses is able to bring all of our sense perception into doubt If we doubt all of the senses you must be a lunatic the lunatic hypotheses is dismissed Descartes must substitute the lunatic hypotheses for the dream hypotheses Descartes reminds us that isn’t it the case that logical people have “As a man I am sometimes prone to dream” The dream hypotheses does the same thing as the lunatic hypotheses it just make Descartes look better and more rational Descartes says that my dream experience is exactly like my waking experience and both experiences seem to be the same there seems to be no criteria to distinguish one from the other the dream hypotheses goes from being a real doubt to a hypothetical doubt Descartes is to look at the content of his dreams and looks if there is anything in the content of his dream that is immune or certain to be doubted Maybe complex things like human beings do not exist in reality but are just made up of a combination of simple things maybe the world is only made of simple things that are created into complex things that don’t exist in reality The more simple things that complex things are made of must be real Shapes of universal things colour body extension shape size quantity location time A metaphysical doubt is an exaggeration Descartes cont’d 5/12/2013 5:03:00 PM Such simple and universal things seem to be true of all things Colour Body Extension Shape Size Quantity Location Time Descartes thinks it is now safe to distinguish two types of sciences Physics, Astronomy and medicine deal with complex things and are considered geometry Geometry and mathematics deal with simple and universal concepts Has Descartes finally found certainty that cannot be doubted those that are in principle Descartes says he has a belief in God that is an all powerful deity in power of mankind and what mankind is in essence- for what man’s human nature is It is possible that this God has created things to be perceived by one person as one way but totally different in another way Descartes says he has a strong conviction that these things are true But, perhaps God has not wished me to be perceived in this way because God is supremely good and God is not a perceiver It is ridiculous to think God is a deceiver If I were always deceived and always in error than God would be a deceiver because he created me, but perhaps I am wrong my senses deceive me and what has been given to me by God is lead astray Descartes needs to address the question of human origins and the source of being and God’s true nature Descartes supposes that God is just a fable There is still a serious problem on existence, Where does he originate and what is his nature? Any other being that created him would not be supreme, and would have conflict Whatever is left over has to be less perfect than the supremely perfect being Unless he is able to know how he was caused, doubt will never go away As long as you do not confirm or deny anything you can not make a mistake Descartes says thanks to the systematic doubt there have been doubts to his old views Descartes needs to balance set of prejudices by another set of prejudices The evil genius is described as a being that is no less cunning than he is powerful and he is bringing all his energy to deceive Descartes in everything he thinks The existence of all external things is all brought into doubt because they can all be tricks and deceptions Is there anything at all that cannot be certain Why does Descartes bother to employ this methodic doubt? To bring along a kind conversion Meditation number one distinguishes between mental things and physical things that deal with the body His response against empiricism is rationalism His general rule of ev
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