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Descartes - Study Notes.docx

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Western University
Philosophy 2500F/G

DESCARTES FIRST MEDITATION  Empiricist – knows that knowledge of the outside world comes from experiences, what we know about matter is created by what our perceptions of objects are  Descartes is a rationalist, argues that what comes to us comes to us from our rational mind from knowledge and science  Methodological skepticism – treating everything as false until something comes to make it certain  Things you experience are a merely a fabrication of the mind – no definitive signs that allow us to distinguish between real life and fabrications – a number gives it extension that makes it real  Evil genius: doesn’t want ideas to be based in God – the less perfect the thing is that created me is the more likely it is that what I created is, is flawed  Radical dualism between the person and the place that he lived in, man vs nature – Descartes distrusts the material world – says it is no place for knowledge  Descartes believes that though his doubt he can develop scientific principles that will help him  I think therefore I am: doubts everything but then realizes since doubt is a thought it can’t be doubted because it’s still thinking. Solopsism: his existence is a self evident truth – one certain truth  Imagination is our capacity to think of images in our mind of things we have sensed in the external world  Intellect, he knows he exists and that’s the only thing he can be certain of. Intellect allows him to understand and doubt things  3 Meditations – clear and distinct ideas are only by virtue certain, all other ideas can be subject to doubt  Metaphysical Problem: constructing a world that only has him in it – not a political world or world that anyone would really find pleasing to live in  Types of thought: ideas are the units that create thought, simple ideas are particulars (you don’t have to be able to sense them)  Compounds – volitions – modes of thought like willing and affirming  Judgements – i exist the sky is purple is a type of idea  Material falsity – simple ideas – they are true in so far as it’s an idea makes it so that things appear to be things they aren’t really – so illustrious  You need to apply your rational mind to something in order to make it true, our senses alone are an impetus to true knowledge- simple substances are deconstructed into substances, modes and accidents  Substances are particular things, they are indivisible and because they are predicated on
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