Note: use information from the Regulae, Principles of Philosophy, relevant portions of first and
third meditations and the replies to objections II.
1a) Descartes insists that learning can be put on a new foundation, provided that we emulate the
method of mathematics. Discuss as fully as you can how Descartes believes that the
mathematical model can revolutionize learning.
1a ) deals with the regulae
Clear and distinct is also written as highly perceivable….
pg26, argument about tools is used to
2+2=4 is still Descartes of the Reg, but after “nevertheless…..” is a transformed Descartes
3 aspects of metaphysics: god, clear/distinct ideas (foundational notions), immateriality of the soul
pg3/top of pg4 “consequently arithmetic and geography…”
bottom pg4/top pg5: why D thinks math is superior to other forms of knowledge
- Free from any taint of .. deduction and experience cannot be erroneous
- His reason for saying so is arithmetic/geo deal with an object so pure and uncomplicated that they
make no assumptions where experience rendered uncertainty.. ****Important in CK
- They possess an object such as we require…for in them it is scarce possible for a human to make
a mistake except by INATTENTION.
faculty of the mind in which mathematics is obtained (top of pg 3) none of the mistakes that ppl can
make are due to faulty inference, but by poorly experienced experiences (find proper quote)
the point that Descartes is trying to make is that we do make errors in math, but it is never viewed as
pg 48 in the book – error is never due to the mind “for whether I am awake or asleep, 2 and 3 always
makes 5… you never attribute error to the state of the mind”
Decartes maintains that errors are due to 2 sources
1) inattention (you are not giving your full attention to the math problem)
b) the premises are accepted that are not fully understood – you accept things that are in fact false, in
some form or another
2) CK “This furnishes us… the former alone deals with an object so pure and uncomplicated….and
possess an object…. (find quote page 5)
(CK pg2526 Last parag) How he generated his method in the Regulae…
“This method of ours resembles…thus equipped…” ***”This examples teach us that…(underline in txt
apparently 100 times)…by their ill…we must first employ them by searching out with our outmost attn.
by searching out….”
- Descartes is trying to say that the method that he is trying to develop is similar to the mechanical
craft. The mechanical crafts do not begin with sophisticated tools (there aren’t any), therefor the
beginning of any craft (ie he notes a black smith) even in its infancy, they use primitive objects
(ie: rocks, wood, etc). and once they have these tools, they don’t begin to make things, instead
they make better tools of their primitive tools
- (for example, you start with arithmetic and it eventually develops into quantum phys..)
- In the case of mathematics, Descartes believes that the origin is not empirical, but that it is
eternal. It will be true when we die… HUMA_TestReview_1
1b) The key points of difference that Descartes identifies between mathematics and the quest for
first principles in metaphysics – the subject matter of his Meditations on First Philosophy.
1B from pgs101104
o 1) Analysis effect from cause; Synthesis effect to cause (deductive problems)
1c) Descartes’ reasons for holding in the first meditation and Principle 5 that mathematics can be
regarded as dubitable.
1c) Pg220 – principle 5
1 reason: psychological irresistibility; you are so certain that you think you are right but are wrong.
(pg48: as I sometimes…”)
2 reason: “but yet a more important reason…” God could have made you believe that 2+2 is 4 when it
really isn’t (pg48: Nevertheless, I have long fixed in my mind….”
3 reason: “and if we think… deceived” – at least with God, who is probably good and probably wouldn’t
deceive us, at least I have some kind of foundation… Pg48: Even if you were to say there is no good or
some other cause ie: evolution, faith, diety, there will be a higher likelihood that you are deceiving
yourself than you would if you believed in God.
Pg 5960 “but when I took anything…evidence”
2a) Discuss what Descartes is attempting to accomplish in the first meditation through the use of
Descartes thinks we are never going to stop with our naïve realism
- Representative realism/naïve realism ▯if his senses lie to him once, there is no reason to trust the
- He is trying to eliminate the prejudices of the senses, figure out what he could doubt,
- What Descartes is trying to say is that the meditations are not a book of logical truths,
rather, it is a book which in the first place is designed to unprejudiced the mind of all
sensory influence and secondly, to make the mind focus and attentive to the relative
innate ideas, whereby you can grasp the truth of the first principle. Therefore, Descartes
calls this a meditative procedure rather than a logical procedure.
- The method of the analysis, as used in the Meditations, has one basic presupposition, that
there are innate ideas for you to grasp and learn (for instance of the union of body/mind,
the truth of the self, God, etc). They can only be grasped once all sensory prejudices are
Med1 explained HUMA_TestReview_1
- Descartes is trying to examine whether or not we can discover the first principles of human
- He wonders, where do we get our knowledge? ▯through the senses and t▯ hrough the