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Lecture 2

socy 226 week 2

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Queen's University
SOCY 226
Rob Beamish

September 16 2013 Descartes, Reason, Truth, and Science Descartes departure Points  “As for reason or good sense, I’m inclined to believe that it exist whole and complete in each of us, because it is the only thing that makes us men and distinguishes us from the lower animals”  “I made a decision one day to undertake studies within myself too and to use all the powers of mind in choosing the paths I should follow”  Get a sense of what Descartes actually said  It is really made for the aspiring French person The key themes of his works  Personal, intellectual hygiene  Our views begin in childhood; come from many sources; they’re clouded  Reject all previous opinions  Find the “True method of getting all the knowledge my mind was capable of having”  The argument become quite persuasive because he is arguing himself in a completely justified and logical argument  So essentially he wants us to reject all the other argument, and than begin to learn and think of new knowledge  We need a systematical method of grasping knowledge in the world  What I know it not clear, so I want to start fresh, reject everything I know and being to learn  Four rules of logic 1. Never to accept anything as true if I don’t have evident knowledge of its truth—vivid and clear  What can we learn is vivid and clear, and yes I can see it optically or mentally as vivid and clear, if I cannot see it vividly that it is not necessarily clear  All problems can be simple but completely complex 2. Divide into as many parts as necessary to resolve the difficultly Take a problem and break it down into in simplest part where we can see it in its simplest form 3. Start with the simplest, most easily known objects and move up gradually to knowledge of the most complex 4. Make all enumerations complete and receive comprehensively  I want to create a method that everyone can use  “There is only one truth concerning any matter”  “It comes down to this: the method- my method- that tells us to follow the correct order, and to enumerate exactly all the relevant factors, contains everything that gives certainty to the rules of arithmetic”  My method will give us the same clarity and certainty that arithmetic give, because arithmetic are very clear and certain.  A discourse that persuades you that his way really makes sense  Faith is not set aside  “Having assured myself of theses maxims and set them on one side- out of harm’s way, so to speak- along with the truths of faith, which have always been foremost among my beliefs, I judges that I could freely go about ridding myself of all my other opinions  He recognized that there was a current and popular belief in science, and it was still a dangerous position to take  He says he is not publishing his finding because he does not want to deal with debate of be sent to prison  He says that faith is a truth and is different that all the other opinion he has learned in childhood  I have discarded opinions and I have accepted truth, faith is a truth and not I must discover the trues around us that G-d created  He wants to show that he can be both a good Christian and a good scientist  Je pense donc je suis.  “I wanted to devote myself solely to the search for truth”  Reject “as if it were absolutely false everything regarding which I could imagine the least doubt, so as to see whether this left me with anything entirely indubitable to believe  While I was trying in this way to think everything to be false it has to be the case that I, who was thinking this, was something”  “I am thinking, therefore I exist”  A thinking mind always exist  “I observed that the proposition ‘I am thinking, therefore I exist’ has nothing about it to assure me that I am speaking the trust when I assert it except that I see very clearly that in order to think it is necessary to exist. These convinced me that I could take it as a general rule that the things we can conceive very vividly and very clearly are all true; but there is some difficulty in telling which conceptions are really clear  Existence of G-d As I doubted I asked “where did I get my ability to thinking of something more perfect that I am?  If he were to not show that G-d existed, that parts of it would be skeptical  He is saying that G-d gave him the ability to see the perfect world, and understand it  The idea has been put into me by something that truly was more perfect that I was—by G-d  Dependency is a defect (an imperfection)  G-d has no imperfections—He is vividly and clearly true The laws of nature  “ And I discover certain laws in out minds, in such a way that after adequate reflection we can’t doubt that the laws are exactly observed in everything that exist  “But if we think of material things as developing gradually out of chaos, their nature is easier to grasp that if we consider them only in their present completed form  And there is nothing wrong with believing that G-d could have brought them about in the manner, starting with chaos, establishing laws of nature, and than allowing nature to develop in a normal way in accordance with those laws  The world actually has an element of change in it, whether it was created by G-d, or I can show you that G-d created the world that will unfold  It is interesting to see the world as if G-d started with chaos, and than from that the world began to develop, so it started with the big band theory…  Mind and body separation  Cartesian dualism: He has the notion of the soul, and that the soul is tied to the body and the mind, so if they are tied, than one cannot leave with out the body  Body as machine: The body is a machine, which holds mind and body and soul, there is independent reasons in the mind that will lead us to the trues  Mind and speech as unique to human  Body is dependent on the mind- an imperfection  The immortality of the soul  Quest for scientific knowledge  The role of experience/ experiment  We begin with experience, and we observe and classify  Began with first principles of causes of everything that exist  Next the first and most ordinary effects deducible rom these causes  Then moves on to more particular things The use of experiments to determine what specific principles apply  The scientific community using the same method  The level of contemplation/speculation  Intellect and emotions act separately  Intel
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