October 24 , 2012
Turning now to Meditation 1:
Here we attack the notion of representative realism: You’re never fully in contact with
the actual desk, you’re getting sensations of the desk. And the concept of the desk is
behind the senses. The only way to only know the desk, is to leave the body.
Remember; this talks about how the best knowledge of an object we can have is our
perception or sensation, not the object itself.
Issue in all M1 concerns: Is this perception an accurate perception? With regards to the
correspondence theory of truth – how to know our perception corresponds with reality.
DIAGLECTIC PROCESS: We take two things that need one another and we
LOOKING FOR A WAY TO SAY THAT OUR SENSES CORRESPOND WITH
REALITY AND ARE IN A SENSE REAL.
Q: How by examining our perceptions can we figure out if the perceptions correspond to
D says: Must find certain features within perception which if present, guarantee that
perception corresponds to the object.
If absent, say perception does NOT correspond with object!
These features are coined: CLAIRTY AND DISTINCTNESS
Do any of our perceptions possess clearness and distinctness such that they are adequate
to guarantee our perceptions correspond to object?
Whole of M1 tries to get a clear notion of clarity/distinctness, which would guarantee our
perceptions correspond with certain objects.
Q: How do we seek our this C/D
D: Humans use certain principles of evidence (POE)
These POEs will be defined in terms of clarity/distinctness
Through these principles, sets of perceptions will be associated with CD, and admitted in
consciousness as true. Whatever doesn’t make the cut will be deemed false! So, testing a POE:
Has this POE ever produced a mistake?
There can be error in fact, or error in principle (may have led to a mistake)
D says that if these errors are possible, the clarity and distinctness isn’t present and
therefore the range of perceptions is doubted.
THIS DOUBT IS : HYPERBOLIC DOUBT
It could be deemed illogical to reject everything if you might have made one mistake, but
Descartes acknowledges this. He says searching for indubitable so this is the only way to
Once D does p1, turns to P2, which is more reflective
POE that comes after first is arrived at dialectically!
Each takes into consideration shortcomings of one before it, and tries to correct
Therfore, in POE2 C/D are redefined and D says this would be tied to another set of
perceptions and we would ask ourselves again: could one be drawn to an error in fact of
If yes, reject POE, notion of CD, range of perceptions
Each one is more rational and critical, improves on the previous one and is guided by the
mistkaes that come from previous one
Finally we get to POEn
Again, we have a definition of CD, and the range of perceptions with it
D raises the question of error in fact/principle, and then rejected
That, then, is the end to attempt to establish that perception can yield certainty is
Looking at M1:
P. 49 – “but it is not sufficient” The senses are always pushing us to accept certain beliefs. The hyperbolic doubt of M1 is
counterbalancing the senses, showing us eventually they are not to be trusted.
One gets to this point by the state of indifference. By the end of M1, we say not sure
Again, D points out the importance of not being hostile and starting out inquiry with no
D says need to keep all counterbalancing tricks in mind always.
How? Introduces the hypothesis of evil genius (not God @ this pt)
What is the evil genius? The personification of hyperbolic doubt. Instead of repeatedly
going through the agreements, he turned them into a person – just need to think of
deception via the evil genius. It is not an infinite being, it is just someone that has control
Take it from the top!
Pg. 45 “now for this object…rejecting the whole”
This is quote for HYPOERNOLIC DOUBT
What is POE1?
It is indiscriminate in what it allows as true (Does not care about what it lets in)
It gives clarity and distinctness no true definition – all perceptions are clear and distinct.
BUT, Descartes says:
Sometimes senses are deceived! We shouldn’t trust something that has deceive us in the
So we ask, can there be an error in fact/principle? YES
How does he know this?
“ It may be that the senses sometimes deceive us… “Fog, star, distance)
So, our sense can reveal opposite notions, and they clearly cant be true!
Now, POE2 2 last para on P. 46:
“…how can I deny these hands and body are mine…”
The senses turn out to be reliable when our perceptions are CLEAR (highly perceptible)
and distinct (know the components)
The more you know about the general features/components, the more distinct the
Well, there is one counterexample that even if close and see components, it is not true.
46: “and how can I deny….but they are mad”
So D sa