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Lecture 5

Lecture 5- Rene Descartes.docx

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PHIL 1050
Patricia Sheridan

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Lecture 5- Rene Descartes (1596-1650) • Method of Doubt • Attacking the Foundations • The cogito and the wax example +The demolition • “I will devote myself sincerely and without reservation to the general demolition of my opinions.” (144) • Why is Descartes taking this on? • Epistemological question -Is there anything we can know with certainty? • Why worry about this? • Justification: We believe a lot of things without considering our reasons for doing so. • Truth: We like to believe the things we take to be true really are true in some meaning sense • What does this mean, exactly? +What kinds of things do we believe to be true? -It is raining today -I have a cold -The earth is round -Apes are primates -A right angle is 90° -2 + 2 =4 • i.e. , we believe these to be true based either on: -sensation -reason -If either or both to be subject to doubt, anything founded upon them will be subject to doubt +Sensation: Begins with Uncontroversial sensory deceptions—i.e. distant sensory perceptions can be mistaken • What we perceive and what’s real can come apart in these cases +Immediate sensation -This is harder to doubt “that I am here, sitting...holding this piece of paper in my hands, and so on.” (384) -it would be crazy to doubt this -My perceptions are so convincing, I am compelled to believe them -Can we doubt this? +The dream argument • “there are never any sure signs by means of which being awake can be distinguished from being asleep.” (385) • My perceptions and reality have come apart again • What seems real is potentially all in my mind -I c
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