The theory of perception is called representative realism
o The point he makes is, “how do I know that my interpretation of the table
is an accurate representation of that table”
How do I establish this correspondence? How can I prove it?
o The one thing we cannot do is jump out of our skin to see the table,
therefore we must be able to establish the correspondence/lack of
correspondence through the table
We would have to find certain features within perception which if
they are present guarantee the perception corresponds to the object.
• Coined clarity and distinctness.
Do any of our perceptions possess clarity and distinctness that would guarantee
that our perceptions correspond to those objects.
How do we seek out that clarity and distinctness?
o Humans utilize certain principles of evidence, and these principles of
evidence will be defined in terms of clarity and distinctness and through
these principles of evidence that a set of evidence will be admitted through
the consciousness as true. And those who do not, will be regarded as false.
THIS IS ALL REJECTED BECAUSE OF DOUBT/POSSIBILITY OF
MISTAKE. They are arrived at dialectically.
o Called a hyperbolic doubt.
Goes beyond logic. It is not logical to reject everything because
one thing is defective.
Seocond Prinicple of Evidence.
o Clarity and distinctness are redefined. Each one is more rational and more
critical and improve upon the one that comes before it.
Principle of evidence N (uncertainty)
o Must be a definition of clarity and distinctness.
o Must be a set of perceptions that come through it
o Have I ever made an error in fact using this/error in principle using this?
• THEREFORE EVERYTHING IS REJECTED.
o The end that perception can yield any certainty.
By the end of the first meditation, we would have to say at the end of meditation
1, we are not sure about anything in the world given the doubts Descartes has
How do you keep all these arguments in mind?
o Evil genius does not have infinite power, but finite power. What is the evil
What are the principles of evidence1? The senses are not always reliable
Principle of evidence 2
The sense turn out to be reliable, whenever our perceptions are clear (highly pure)
and distinct (pertains to knowing the components of an object. The more that I
know, the most distinct my knowledge is).
There is one counter example to this principle of evidence: pg. 46 meditations 1
(2 last paragraph on the middle of the page)…
o Counter example: Madness. People who are mad create their own reality.
Therefore, when people are mad, they go beyond deception. In
meditations 1, you find notions of deception. But with madness, they enter
the realm of illusion. How does Descartes know he is not mad? The
answer: people who are mad are unable to distinguish reality from the
illusion – the person is diluted. In the case of delusional people, they
cannot be confronted. Therefore, mad people are delusional in the sense
that they create their own reality and no other person can convince them
o Therefore, principle of evidence 2 is not good enough because it would
allow mad people have true perception hence we must come up with
Madness – Delusional
Principle of evidence