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The Enlightenment and Human Understanding

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York University
HUMA 1160
Stanley Tweyman

The Enlightenment and Human Understanding The Bible  The truths were revealed by God. The Bible contains all knowledge that we need to have Plato & Aristotle  These thinkers came to the same truths that the Bible contained through REASON , but were not specifically spoken to by God A prior: Before knowledge (Math) So what was the break with the medieval?  1. Medieval always believed tied to the church, E thinkers were AUTONOMOUS – had no connection  Upshot of this: Theology no longer supreme science…. It could be challenged!  Philosophy could now judge theology!  Which discipline is supreme – In E it was PHILOSOPHY which would judge claims of God, morality, etc. Theology WAS DOWNGRADED  2. God/Bible was NOT first object of study!  Wanted to study ideas of self/human nature  Looking at Math:  Wanted to know what origin of math truth is…  A: Mathematical truths are mental – they don’t come from the physical world, they come from internally from us  Therefore, philosophy and learning generally must ALSO COME FROM HUMAN NATURE  Upshot: In beginning we need to study ourselves to learn more about philosophy/learning!  3: New Sense of Causality  With theological outlook – One view not counting God in the picture – get different view!  Aristotle:  If you are going to build something, what causal factors are involved in this  First you have MATERIAL CAUSE  Like bricks, mortar, the stuff  Second, EFFICIENT CAUSE  You need to put the material together… needs builders  FORMAL CAUSE – The plan how to put together. Put in proper order  Fourth, FINALY CAUSAILTY – to make causal sense, you need to understand PURPOSE OF BUILDING IN THE FIRST PLACE (Why there is a house there)  To understand how anything came to be, need four types of causes  If you believe that God is responsible for all creation, and he put things strategically where he wants them to be….Finally Causality guides all causal inquiries. The word WHY capture us.  If you have theological explanation, inquiry MUST begin with word WHY, which assumes there is an intellect behind our investigation  On the other hand, in E period, theological component is played down  It is now about HOW  In this manner we question EFFICIENT cause  Where efficient causality is invoked, is that the world and anything in it like a MACHINE, guided by causal sequences  Descartes looked at HOW THINGS HAPPENED  God might have something to do with it, but we won’t investigate that necessarily  4. Medieval believed all truths have been revealed  In E period belief arose that a) that claim is false, don’t have truths and b) as result of this, there are new truths to discover  5. If god at basis, we have to understand SELF (and other people) in relationship to the theological system set up. As a E thinker, however, believing that God may exist but not to relevant to understand self, YOU REALIZE YOU WOULD HAVE TO RETHINK relationship to self, others than god  Get a rethinking of “man’s place in the world”: Where are we, who are we, what do we come from Pg. 211  The logic he is discussing in Aristotelian logic that dominated the world for 2000 years  384 BCE – 322 BCE  We should study the logic that directs use to study reason and the truths of which we are ignorant  Since this is very much on habit, we should practice the rules for a long time, such as those of mathematics Descartes vs. Aristotle Descartes says there are two kinds of logic: 1) Aristotelian 2) The on Descartes is about to teach us So what bothers him about Aristotle?  Look at Aristotle’s most famous argument; the SYLLOGISM  All men are mortal (Premise), Socrates is a man (Premise), Therefore: Socrates is mortal (Inference/Conclusion)  Seems logical! Each clause has subject/predicate! Why does Descartes forbid study?  If you look at the conclusion of the argument, you have one worlds as Socrates and one word as mortal  The rules of logic have enabled us to connect the subject to the second sentence to the predicate of the first  This is called SYNTACTICAL EXERCISE; you can manipulate the terms, but logically is OK  He is mostly bothered that the conclusion TEACHERS NOTHING NEW, it only teaches us to connect the terms  LOGIC OF DISCOVERY  Teaches use how to direct reason  Knowledge is A PRIORI, D maintains that all knowledge we need is already in our minds, just like math is already in our minds – we are just “bringing them out”  Philosopher needs to bring our philosophy in the mind  So mathematician when doing math – guides mind to the relevant to solve a math problem  Metaphysics studied FIRST PRINCPLES OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE- for Descartes these must be known before anything else studied  These are contained in his MEDITATIONS  Regulae: Descartes maintains that the beginning of the revolution is by paying attention to math  In our search for truth, we should busy ourselves in objects that can  2 reasons math is certain (to Descartes)  1. Bottom pg. 4 – “Deduction”  Though you might pass over one premises, deduction cannot be erroneous WHEN DONE IN RATIONAL UNDERSTANDING  Descartes wants to say that if you make mistake in math, either was written down incorrectly or you weren’t paying proper attention  Errors in mathematics are ALWAYS HUMAN ERRORS  Descartes wants to make the point that reasoning is math is INFAILLIBLE  Descartes want to say that before you do math and certainly before metaphysics, YOU HAVE TO PROPERLY PREPARE MIND  2. Page 5. First new P  One hand; reasoning infallible and need to pay attention  Also says math objects are PURE AND UNCOMPLICATED  PURE: Figures in the world can only approximate way we are thinking about – no true isos triangle in nature, only true in the mind  True objects in math are NOT EMPIRICAL PURE MEANS IT DOES NOT DERVIE FROM OBSERVATIONS  No sensory perception – not obtained through  UNCOMPLICATED  Think about empirical obj
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