A discussion on descartes views on how we know what we know

descartes cogito

These charges were raised at the Universities of Utrecht and Leiden and stemmed from various misunderstandings about his method and the supposed opposition of his theses to Aristotle and the Christian faith.

By contrast, in the main interpretive thread followed here, skeptical arguments were a cognitive tool that Descartes used in order to guide the reader of the Meditations into the right cognitive frame of mind for grasping the first truths of metaphysics.

In other words, something cannot give what it does not have. Ordinary sensory fallibility is quite sufficient for that.

descartes beliefs

However, a final point should be made before closing this section. Perhaps this would be enough to ensure that people are responsible for their unjustified errors at least though God is left to carry the can for the rest.

Descartes external world

Our sense perceptions are reliable enough that we can distinguish objects that need distinguishing, and we can navigate as we move about. The argument goes like this: particular bodies are not really distinct substances, because two or more particular bodies cannot be clearly and distinctly understood with an empty space between them; that is, they are not separable from each other, even by the power of God. Further, Descartes knew that some problems rely on measurements that can only be made with the senses, including determining the size of the sun or the refractive indexes of various materials Met. Accordingly, sensory ideas are not misrepresentations, they are simply so obscure and confused that we cannot tell what their representational content might be by considering their experienced character, such as the phenomenal character of cold or of color. Ultimately, his physics was taught in the Netherlands, France, England, and parts of Germany. But there is no analogue of either ability in the theoretical sphere. More generally, Copernicus had, in the previous century, offered a forceful argument for believing that the sun, not the earth, is at the center of the solar system. Descartes' arguments to establish the essences of these substances appeal directly to his clear and distinct perception of those essences. This asymmetry is found in the claim that particular minds are substances for Descartes but not particular bodies. He then goes on to describe in some detail the motion of the blood through the heart in order to explain that when the heart hardens it is not contracting but really swelling in such a way as to allow more blood into a given cavity. In fact, he says, it contradicts 'the universal and primary opinion of all mankind' Hume The point is that no matter how small a piece of matter, it can always be divided in half, and then each half can itself be divided in half, and so on to infinity. What sort of reasoning is involved in inductive inference?

For example, the idea of a triangle can be examined and set aside at will, but its internal content cannot be manipulated so as to cease being the idea of a three-sided figure.

He went to Italy — Of course, once we have relied on sensation for a bit, we discover that it misleads us on occasion but we don't need experience of error to know that induction might mislead us: induction never even purports to give us conclusive reasons for belief.

Descartes assigned two roles to the senses in the acquisition of human knowledge. The course of study was capped off with courses in metaphysics, natural philosophy and ethics. His metaphysics sought to answer these philosophical questions: How does the human mind acquire knowledge?

As in his theory of the senses Sec.

descartes certainty
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René Descartes (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)