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Descartes Prelim Notes

Descartes Prelim Notes

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Published by: api-3729409 on Oct 15, 2008
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03/18/2014

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Descartes Question: Is Descartes successful in overcoming his doubts about the
senses?
Intro:

- Descartes\u2019 (1596-1650) significant questioning of Aristotle\u2019s, Plato\u2019s beliefs
- First philosopher mind-body problem
- Identity mental not material (unlike Thomas Aquinas)
- Meditations on First Philosophy (1641)
- Extreme scepticism, not sceptic
- 4 doubts (disagreement of the learned, deceit of the senses, dream & demon

arguments) on sources of groups of beliefs, not individual
Main body:

\u201cI realised that it was necessary once in the course of my life to demolish everything
completely and start again right from the foundations if I wanted to establish
anything at all in the sciences that was stable and likely to last.\u201d (First Meditation)

- Senses usually right but we can\u2019t be certain \u2013 example: defected retina
\u201cI have sometimes found that these senses played me false, and it is prudent never to
trust entirely those who have once deceived us.\u201d
- Dream argument:
\u201cHow often, asleep at night, am I convinced of just such familiar events-that I am

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