PHIL 1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Middle Ages, Moral Evil, U.S. Route 3

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15 Jun 2020
Phil 1
Summer 2018
Descartes - Father of modern philosophy
DESCARTE, 1300 years after Aristotle and Augustine
Universities and hospitals come into existence during these 1300 years
Mathematics is the true concrete language of the universe
The modern period begins in the middle ages
The world at this point is dominated by the roman catholic church
Just because you experience something one way, does not mean that that is completely
the truth. (people experienced the earth at the center of the universe)
Skepticism Descartes says that the proper stance in anything you’re studying has to be
skepticism. Have to have overwhelming evidence to reach a conclusion.
Experimentation is critical
Descarte is very much associated with the branch of philosophy called epistemology
Epistemology deals with the meaning of knowledge, what do you mean when you say
you KNOW something
Descartes is concerned with real certainty
He wants to know what is the reasonable standard for knowing
the meditations he asks himself “is there anything that I can be absolutely certain of?”
first possibility - starts by thinking about the possibility of his reality just being a
dream. Uses this as a basis for saying he doesn’t know if its true
second possibility I could be crazy, crazy people see things all the time that aren’t real
third possibility there could be an evil godlike genius so powerful that he could be
causing me to believe things that simply are not so
Could Descartes be deceived by the evil being into believing he exists, when he does
His answer to this is no. because there would be no “you” that could be deceived if
you didn’t exist, there has to be a subject
He sees this answer as a starting point, he is absolutely certain that he does exist
“I think therefore I am”
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