Download Descartes: An Analytical and Historical Introduction by Georges Dicker PDF

By Georges Dicker

A pretty good grab of the most topics and arguments of the seventeenth-century thinker René Descartes is key for figuring out glossy notion, and an important entrée to the paintings of the Empiricists and Immanuel Kant. it's also an important to the examine of up to date epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of brain. This re-creation of Georges Dicker's statement on Descartes's masterpiece, Meditations on First Philosophy, contains a new bankruptcy at the Fourth Meditation and superior remedies of the well-known cogito ergo sum and the infamous challenge of the Cartesian Circle, between a number of different advancements and updates. transparent and obtainable, it serves as an creation to Descartes's principles for undergraduates and as a worldly spouse to his Meditations for complex readers. the amount offers a radical dialogue of numerous uncomplicated problems with epistemology and metaphysics elicited from the most issues and arguments of the Meditations. It additionally delves into the work's old history and demanding reception. Dicker deals his personal tests of the Cartesian Doubt, the cogito, the causal and ontological proofs of God's lifestyles, Cartesian freedom and theodicy, Cartesian Dualism, and Descartes's perspectives concerning the life and nature of the cloth international. The observation additionally includes a wealth of contemporary Descartes scholarship, and inculcates -- yet doesn't presuppose -- wisdom of the tools of latest analytic philosophy.

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Extra resources for Descartes: An Analytical and Historical Introduction

Sample text

Thus, we may enter the following statement as the second step in our summary: . For this purpose, I must withhold belief from things that are not entirely certain and indubitable just as carefully as from those which are obviously false. Descartes here declares that he will be just as wary of what is even slightly doubtful as of what is obviously false. This attitude can be clarified by contrasting it with the attitude of a person concerned with practical matters—say with making money. In order to succeed, such a person Meditation I and the Method of Doubt  must adopt an attitude which is precisely not the one Descartes here adopts.

So, the hypothesis that he might be insane is simply irrelevant to his inquiry. Of course, someone may say that he ought to have considered it more seriously, but the question would then be: why ought he?  Furthermore, the question of whether a demented person could attain certainty, or establish lasting results that would remain fixed and stable in her mind, seems almost to answer itself.  In this regard, consider the very beginning of Descartes’s Discourse on the Method: Good sense is the best distributed thing in the world: for everyone thinks himself so well endowed with it that even those who are hardest to please in everything else do not usually desire more good of it sense than they possess.

Descartes thinks that all sane human beings possess the power to reason well and to judge correctly (what he here calls “good sense”), and that part of possessing that power is recognizing that one possesses it. The passage as a whole reflects very well the standpoint from which Descartes wrote the Meditations. Meditation I and the Method of Doubt  On the other hand, Descartes cannot just dismiss the possibility that he might be dreaming, since it is a plain fact that even ordinary, rational humans have dreams.

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