Meditation 1 Recap
Descartes aims to set a firm foundation for the sciences
How do I know things I believe aren’t false?
Wants to get rid of all false beliefs
Examine the source of all beliefs and see if the source is reliable
If it isn’t reliable, all beliefs built up from source not reliable
Descartes only wants to believe things that aabsolutely certain – things it is literally not possible to
Is it possible for me to doubt the deliverances of my senses? If so, reject beliefs and claim as false
Case of dreaming…am I dreaming right now?
If so, nothing is real and all is false
Evil genius deceiving me?
If so, everything is false
But, even with evil genius, that would make it impossible to doubt existence
Descartes, Meditation 2
The Wax Passage:
How do I know about the wax?
Through the senses?
I see the color, shape, feel the temp., smell the scent
But, put the wax to the fire, and is loses all of this
Yet, we still grasp that the wax itself has remained
So, what we got from the senses wasn’t the wax’s essence
The wax is something other than its perceptible properties
The senses show us only the “accidental” properties The essence is what persists through the change
The intellect grasps that something is there, persisting
The intellect forms a conceptually distinct idea of the wax as an extended thing
The Wax Passage Conclusions
We know the wax through our intellect alone
The intellect is a source of knowledge, independent from the senses
We know (the nature and existence of) our minds more clearly and distinctly than anything else
Whether the wax really exists is an open question
But, if I seem to see the wax, it follows that I exist
This is true of all things external to our minds
So, we know our minds with more certainty
We also know them more distinctly
Every thought I have about external things tells me something about mys