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In other words, yes he has found doubt in everything, but he now sees that his finding doubt in everything is something. ecause he doubts, he must exist! He could doubt everything his senses told him. He could even doubt he had a body. ut he could not doubt he had a mind because if he did not have a mind, how could he doubt?
The steps Descartes takes to reach this conclusion also illustrate the underlying importance of ensuring he did not upset the Catholic Church. For example, Descartes makes sure to show there is a difference between the physical body and the mind. The mind or soul enables you to think, doubt, understand, etc.
People and animals have bodies, but only people have minds and souls and thus only people can think, doubt and go to heaven!
Although Descartes logic here calls into question a number of things,…
Palmer, Donald. Does the Center Hold? An Introduction to Western Philosophy. Boston: McGraw/Hill, 2002.
If this is true, then thoughts that mankind form -- principles of morality and knowledge of a rational life -- are determined solely by reason because the Creator allowed Man to have that capability which then must mean that the capability produces truth. To prove these ideas, Cartesian Rationality asks the reader to take formal steps into the manner of analysis and development within the ideological process. In six steps then, we can review Descartes' view on how it is a rationalization that uncovers the truth of the Universe. Because so much of the basic principles of Cartesian Rationalism are based on the actual premise of doubt, it is understandable that Descartes begins his Meditations on the sense of doubt as a precursor to thought, with the manner of gleaning information:
"All that I have, up to this moment, accepted as possessed of the highest truth and certainty, I received…
In stark contrast, these things do not happen in the 'waking' world (LaBossiere 2). hile there are many other differences, these two standards show that even though I might not be able to know the true natures of these two worlds, there are good reasons for assuming that the "waking" world is fundamentally different from the "dream" world. Given this ability to distinguish "waking" from "dreaming," it must be concluded that Descartes' argument fails to warrant the degree of skepticism he claims (see LaBossiere ibid).
orks Cited List
Bellotti, T. Descartes' Method of Doubt. 2004: 1-3. Accessed 9 October 2011.
Cached - Similar
Carroll, R.T. Becoming a Critical Thinker. Chapter 1 -- Critical Thinking.
2004: 1-27. Accessed 9 October 2011.
LaBossiere, M. Short Criticism of Descartes' 1st Meditation. 28 December 2009: 1-2.
Accessed 9 October 2011.
Palmquist, S. Philosophy as Meditative Doubt. 1-24. Accessed 9 October 2011.
Works Cited List
Bellotti, T. Descartes' Method of Doubt. 2004: 1-3. Accessed 9 October 2011.
Cached - Similar
Carroll, R.T. Becoming a Critical Thinker. Chapter 1 -- Critical Thinking.
" With that statement, Descartes proves his five-step theory that proves he exists because he is, in his words, "a thinking thing."
Third Meditation have explained at sufficient length the principal argument of which I make use in order to prove the existence of God," Descartes claims. He claims that the idea of God is placed in us by God and that, if he (Descartes) exists there must have been a causation. He eliminates all other causes for his existence except God and says that, therefore, God exists.
If his claims in the Third Meditation are true that God is the causation of everything, then how is there room for error, since God is perfection. After a long argument with himself, he determines that God's gifts to man are perfect, but it is the use of those gifts that cause the errors.
He attempts to again…
Descartes, Rene. "Meditations on First Philosophy." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Trans.
Elizabeth S. Haldane. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. All. http://www.iep.utm.edu/d/descarte.htm
Meditations on First Philosophy in Focus. Ed. Stanley Tweyman. Trans. Haldane and Ross.
Milton Park, UK: Routledge, 1993.
Roy then equates fear to slavery, subjection and servitude to inferiority. He is still not quite settled with his inferior position. (Is he like Milton's Satan -- a being created with such majesty that he cannot reconcile submitting to a God?). But Roy has compassion after all: he saves Decker from falling, using his hand which has a nail in it (a Christian image of the crucified Savior?). This could be, as Roy goes on to reflect and tell Decker of the things he has "seen" before bowing his head and submitting to death. A dove (or is it a pigeon?) flies upward (a symbol of his soul leaving his body? -- Scott may be suggesting that these androids do have souls, given them by God, even if their bodies and memories are given them by Tyrell).
Roy does not go so far as to assert, like Descartes, that God…
Magnitude or extension in length, breadth, or depth, I do so perceive; I have before remarked that it is only in judgments that falsity, properly speaking, or formal falsity, can be met with, a certain material falsity may nevertheless be found in ideas, i.e. when these ideas represent what is nothing as though it were something."(Descartes)
On the contrary, through judgment or reason the material can be very well apprehended. Thus, Descartes disclaims that the essence of wax or of any other material object can be grasped and understood through either mere sensuous perception or through the imagination. It is only the mind or reason that can tell us what wax is. His main arguments against sensuous perception only is that the wax is likely to change some of its physical qualities, such as color or form for instance, but we still know what it is. Likewise, the imagination cannot…
Descartes, Rene. Meditations. http://www.sacred-texts.com/phi/desc/med.txt
Existence of God in Descartes' Meditations
Descartes approached the question of whether God, in fact, exists in Meditation Three and Five, using two very different lines of argument. In Meditation Three, he approaches the question of God's existence through examining the nature of human consciousness, whereas in Meditation Five, he examines the nature of material things. Thus, by using two different approaches, Descartes succeeds in presenting a holistic argument that proves the existence of God, which is the reason why I find both equally persuasive. In fact, it can be said that the arguments used by Descartes in Meditation Three and Five are really two halves of one whole, and, to that extent, could easily have been combined as one Meditation.
In Meditation Three, Descartes attempts to prove the existence of God through effectively pointing out that the idea of an eternal, omniscient, omnipotent creator of all things is an…
Descartes, R. "Meditations on First Philosophy." P. 24-35; 42-47.
1) and a boy who woke up one day to realise the world was not the world anymore, but something paper-ish. Flowers looked like flowers but were not, Milly, his friend, resembled Milly but was not the Milly of yesterday. Through his example, Bouwsma thought to illustrate that illusions may create similar perceptions to reality but ultimately the former can be depicted, as Tom, the boy, balked the phantasy that was deceiving him. And Tom managed to separate what he was experiencing because "he knew the difference between flowers and paper, and that when presented with one or the other, he can tell the difference." (Bouwsma, p. 2)
How can we know if what we are experiencing is dream or reality? Whether or not all man's experiences are products of man's own dreams can be illustrated in matters of what man knows to be real and what man knows to…
Bouwsma, O.K., 1949. Descartes' Evil Genius. In E. Sesonske and N. Fleming, eds. 1965. Meta-meditations. Available at < http://users.humboldt.edu/jwpowell/okbcartev.pdf> [Accessed 5 June 2013]
Crome, K., 2005. Descartes' Evil Demon. Richmond Journal of Philosophy, 11, pp.: 1-8. Available at < http://www.richmond-philosophy.net/rjp/back_issues/rjp11_crome.pdf> [Accessed 4 June 2013]
Descartes, R., 1901. Meditations of First Philosophy [trilingual HTML edition]. Translated from Latin by John Veitch. Available through: Descartes' Meditations Home Page
[Accessed 4 June 2013]
This is indeed an absolutely profound concept in that it can't help but support the idea of the autonomous individual, existing in connection to thought. The truth of these emotions, be them good or bad, speak to the authenticity of the self. There's a notion of realness -- of the self that is a facet of the genuine, as emotions and desires are founded upon the genuine. This notion of genuineness and authenticity implies that there's a core aspect of the human experience which is not manufactured or artificial -- it just is, as thoughts and emotion occur organically with truth attached to them. This demonstrates that the internal processes of the self are based in the real, the actual and the genuine, offering more support to the idea, "I think therefore I am."
However, this is not to imply that there is a perfection in the human being's processes.…
Descartes, R. "Meditations on First Philosophy in which are demonstrated the existence of God and the distinction between the human soul and body."earlymoderntexts.com. Jonathan Bennett, n.d. Web. 22 Apr 2013. .
Then, by beginning with the idea that there may or may not be a chair present at all, one can begin building on those truths that remain to establish more truths and eventually establish the presence of the chair.
Descartes uses such reasoning not only to establish the presence of those things that can be verified by the use of the senses, but also to establish the existence of God and the immortality of the soul. Descartes begins with the premise that neither mountains nor valleys may exist, but that if they do exist, then "a necessary attribute of a mountain is that it be adjacent to a valley" (Burnham and Fieser). Descartes acknowledges that the same could be said of the existence of God:
In the same way, even though the concept of supremely perfect being necessarily possesses certain attributes, it doesn't follow that this being exists. It only…
Burnham, Douglas and James Fieser. "Rene Descartes." The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2001. University of Tennessee at Martin. 4 Mar. 2005 http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/d/descarte.htm .
Chew, Robin. "Rene Descartes: Philosopher." Lucidcafe. 2005. Lucidcafe. 4 Mar. 2005 http://www.lucidcafe.com/lucidcafe/library/96mar/descartes.html.
Descartes, Rene. "Meditations." Eds. David B. Manley and Charles S. Taylor. Descartes'
Meditations. 1996. Wright State University. 4 Mar. 2005 http://www.wright.edu/cola/descartes/ .
The object still exists as well, even if it only perceived inaccurately by the material world and by the sensations
Mathematical proofs and mathematical calibrations are accurate, when correctly done, according to Descartes, because they can be proven by logic that the existence of such things exist with tools outside of the body. But although Descartes' Christian world of a non-deceitful god may have been persuasive to his readers, a contemporary reader might ask, what about when the body is affected by the mind -- for example, when one's heart pounds when the mind is nervous, or when one feels hungry because one has seen a television commercial? The sensations are correct in the sense that they perceive a sight, but the pilot of the ship, in essence, interferes with the correct course of action. This suggests a connection between mind and body that is less causal and easy to…
Modern Philosophy. An Anthology of Primary Sources. Ed. By Roger Ariew and Eric Watkins. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Inc.
Some of the reason for error, therefore, is not related to indifference or for not having enough time to fully consider some matter. Some of it is due to man's propensity to flaw, and to his limited ability (which is related to his limited mental and physical power).
In addition to misinterpreting the nature of the relationship between intellect and free will, Descartes has incorrectly interpreted some of the most vital connotations that accompany free will. There is an innate responsibility that accompanies this gift. Free will presents human beings (and anything else endowed with it, for that matter), the opportunity to do good or evil, to make use of or to squander opportunity, to laugh or to cry. The power of the decision, regardless of the source (which is, of course, God) ultimately resides with the individual. And while the author readily acknowledges the relationship of intellect and will…
DESCARTES' BELIEVE IN GOD
Descartes Believe in God
Descartes' Believe in God
Science attempts to prove how God did or does things. The assessment is heavily disputed by archaic religious doctrines. The traditional conflict between science and religion is entirely based on the dominion and not what is right or wrong. Rene Descartes' belief in God is not based on atheistic principles, but on blasphemy as seen from the way he investigates God's functions. hilst examining Descartes' belief in the existence of God, it establishes that Descartes does not dispute the existence of God, but has a different opinion (parallel from the religion). A scientific argument proving Descartes' arguments and a reflection on his presumptions are provided.
Does Descartes believe in God?
As a philosopher and mathematician, Descartes dedicated his work entirely on writing and researching. His arguments combined humanism, science, and religion to arrive on the much-aggrandized assumptions of…
Broughton, Janet and Carreiro, John. A Companion to Descartes. New York: John Wiley & Sons,
Kohn, Hans. The Idea Of Nationalism: A Study In Its Origins And Background. Transaction Publishers, 2005. Print
McKnight, Edgar. Jesus Christ in History and Scripture: A Poetic and Sectarian Perspective.
Descartes argues that the mind and the body must be two different things since he knows the mind exists but knows no such thing about the body. Spell out this argument. What's wrong with it, if anything? Give a counterexample to the principle implied here.
Are other philosophers that we have read drawing conclusions about what the mind must be like based on what we know about the mind or how we know it? Is that always a mistake? Can reasoning like this be defended? Maybe even Descartes's reasoning?
Descartes on the dualism of mind and body
Descartes insists that mind and body are each distinct from the other although 'living together' in one 'package. His reasoning for this includes the following:
Mind and body are two different organisms. You see this clearly from the way they are fashioned. Each looks and behaves so different to the other, therefore how…
Descartes, Rene, The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, 3 vols., trans. John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff, Dugald Murdoch and Anthony Kenny, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984-1991
Interent Encyc. Of Phil. Rene Descartes: The Mind-Body Distinction
Searle, J. Minds, Brains, and Science Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984
The previous sorts of error apply to particular classes of object or condition: refraction (so far as common errors of perception are concerned) affects the appearance of sticks in water and a few other things; jaundice, so it is said, affects apparent color. But anything I can perceive, I can dream that I perceive. Confronted with an apparently bent stick, experience of refraction-illusions can put me on my guard - it is a special feature of the situation that it is an apparently-bent-stick situation, i.e. possibly a refraction-illusion situation. But since I can dream anything I can perceive, any situation, so far as its apparent constituents are concerned, could be a dream situation; and since dreams are marked, often, by total conviction, conviction which, moreover, often remains even if I raise the question of whether I am dreaming, the fact that I am and remain totally convinced that this is…
Janet Broughton, Descartes' Method of Doubt (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002)
Gary Hatfield, Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Descartes and the Meditations (London: Routledge, 2002)
If a person were to take a can of ed Pop, and another can of 7 Up, and pour these two similar liquids into a common container, the outcome would be a homogeneous mixture of sweet, sparkly red soda. However, if the mixture of the two sodas was looked at as a process, and photographed with high speed photographic equipment, the record would capture the different stages of the mixing process. For example, at the initial instant at which the two sodas were poured into the new container, there would not be a homogeneous mixture, but rather the coexistence of two similar liquids, each fighting to preserve their own identity. Only with the passage of time would the red give away to the clear and the clear give away to the read and create an equally pleasant drink.
Descartes lived in such a time when different forces were being…
Lafleur, Laurence J. (1951) Descarted Meditations - Freshman Lecture Series. Accessed 29 April 2004. Website: http://www.lawrence.edu/fac/boardmaw/Des_Med.html
Richard H. Popkin, (1964) The History of Skepticism from Erasmus to Descartes, Harper & Row: New York.
Rene Descartes. (1964) Philosophical Essays -- Translated by Laurence J. Lafleur, Macmillan:New York.
Descartes' Major Tenets
Descartes Major Tenets
Descartes was one of the most well-respected thinkers of his time, and he applied his special brand of logic to a wide-variety of disciplines, most notably mathematics and philosophy. The Cartesian approach to philosophy, like many approaches to philosophy, looked at the interaction of the mind and the brain. Were the mind and the brain one united organism, did they interact with one another, was one of them superior or more powerful than the other? All of those questions were critical to Descartes' explanation of the universe.
As explained by Nonaka and Takeuchi, the body has an extension into space but cannot think. In contrast, the mind has no extension into space, but can think. Nonaka and Takeuchi used one of Descartes' most famous examples, his explanation of the qualities of honey wax, to explain his dualistic approach to the world. "As for his…
Hatfield, G. (2008, December 3). Rene Descartes. Retrieved January 16, 2012 from Stanford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy website: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/descartes/
Nonaka, I., & Takeuchi, H. (2008). The knowledge-creating company: How Japanese companies create the dynamics of innovation. New York: Oxford University Press.
Different people analyze different situations differently and reach to different conclusions. In supporting his idea he further argued that the senses should not be trusted because people get fooled by their sense. This is due to the reason that many variables affect a person's way of looking and perceiving an event. That's why different people experience same event in different ways.
I do agree with Descartes on this point but at the same time it is also true that majority of the people look at a particular situation in a similar way and reach to similar accurate conclusions. For instance, considering the example of road accident again, if 20 persons watch an accident then majority of them can point out who was responsible for the accident. All of these people view same situation from their own perspective but reach to almost similar conclusion. Therefore it cannot be said that the…
Pereboom, Derk. The Rationalists. Critical Essays on Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz. USA: Roman and Littlefield Publishers, 1999.
If at the moment of stating this theory, animals were simply regarded as mindless creatures, their current status has changed. A large number of organizations received state funds to investigate the lives of animals and came up with astonishing results. The researches developed concluded that most animals had a very active brain and could reach high level of intelligence and communication skills. As such, even if a large part of their movements were done due to instinct or "purely mechanical force," there was a set of movements that was done due to thinking.
Still related to the issue of mechanical forces is the existence of robots. However they are indeed metal objects that do not think for themselves, their creation was only possible through intensive mind work. In other words, even if throughout their existence, the robots themselves do no thinking, somebody else does it for them. In order to…
December 9, 2002, Rene Descartes (1956-1650), ReneDescaters.com, http://www.renedescartes.com/,last accessed on October 8, 2007
Rene Descartes (1595-1650), OregonState.com, http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/philosophers/descartes.html, last accessed on October 8, 2007
Robin Chew, March 1996, Rene Descartes, Philosopher, Lucid Cafe, http://www.lucidcafe.com/library/96mar/descartes.html, last accessed on October 8, 2007
Daniel Garber, August 29, 2003, Descartes, Rene (1596-1650), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://www.rep.routledge.com/article/DA026SECT8,last accessed on October 8, 2007
For Descartes, the individual is capable of thinking beyond the physical and real, and this can be done by arguing based on pure reason. is version of "truths" about human existence and other universal truths about life can be generated from human reason alone, in the same manner in which he proved his existence as a result of his belief that he is "persuaded" that he exists. That is, even though experience and reality does not provide proof of his existence, the fact that Descartes believed that he existed is proof enough that he, indeed, exists in the world he lives in.
Descartes' questioning of reality and experience profoundly helped the manner by which human knowledge is created and developed. Rationalism as a philosophy puts premium on the human ability to think and reason, and through these attributes, be able to create ideas that make sense of one's existence and…
He began to have a dim feeling that, to attain his place in the world, he must be himself, and not another. For the first time he sought to analyze the burden he bore upon his back, that dead-weight of social degradation partially masked behind a half-named Negro problem. He felt his poverty; without a cent, without a home, without land, tools, or savings, he had entered into competition with rich, landed, skilled neighbors. To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships. He felt the weight of his ignorance, -- not simply of letters, but of life, of business, of the humanities...The red stain of bastardy, which two centuries of systematic legal defilement of Negro women had stamped upon his race
Descartes, R. "Meditations." Available at http://www.ship.edu/~cgboeree/descartesmeditations.html .
Du Bois, W.E.B. "Souls of the Black Folk." Available at http://www.bartleby.com/114/1.html .
Descartes: Wax Argument
Descartes philosophy heavily deals with the "thinking thing," of perception and knowledge, and the correlation of the two. Like Plato's views on knowledge and opinion, Descartes concludes that human perception -- or opinion, according to Plato -- is faulty. However, unlike Plato -- who takes sense-perception in stride and allows the use of it to gain knowledge -- Descartes discards sense-perception, determining that it is an unreliable path to true and ineffable knowledge. In Meditations II, Descartes further discusses this argument using the changing of wax.
Prior to his examples with the wax, Descartes has logically deduced that he is a "a thing which thinks," and through that realization a thing that thinks has the inherent ability to "doubt, understand, conceive, deny, will, refuse, which also imagine and feel." In order to affirm his being a thinking thing, he examines the example of a wax, where he…
Descartes, Rene. Meditations on First Philosophy. Retrieved March 24, 2011. .
Plato. The Republic. Retrieved March 24, 2011. .
This raises several questions, however. For instance, is it acceptable that a person only deceives another if he is weak or malicious? or, can a person not deceive another person even if he is more powerful, and/or even if she is not being malicious? Cannot it not be that there exists a more powerful, and non-malicious, deceiver?
So basically, for Descartes, God is an entity that cannot lack in anything; and as deceiving means to lack certain positive qualities, he cannot possibly be a deceiver as he does not lack.
This viewpoint dovetails nicely with Plato's republic and the Cave allegory in that it presents a very black-and-white depiction of God and God's abilities, virtues and perfection.
That is why Descartes is unique: He paints for us a simple view of God in some ways.
One may argue against Descartes on the idea that evil may well be…
Al-Ghazali, through his investigations, showed that both certainty of sense-perceptions (e.g. though the shadow of a stick that seems to imply that the stick is moving when it is not) and certainty of alleged intellectual truths (i.e. The possibility of judging an alleged fact in opposing and diverse manners) could be questioned.
Turning to dreams, al-Ghazaali illustrates that wakefulness is simply a higher consciousness of the dream state. Might there not be, therefore, (he questions), a state beyond that of habitual living that denotes a higher consciousness to that of life itself, hence, nullifying whatever beliefs we might cherish in this mundane world of ours? A hadith supports his supposition: "The people are dreaming, (but) when they die, they become awake." The ufis call this a special mystic state of ecstasy when we have withdrawn into ourselves and are distinct from our senses.
imilarities and Differences between Al-Ghazali and Descartes…
Descartes, R. Meditations on first philosophy: with selections from the Objections and Replies. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996
Samsudin, M.Z. Al-Ghazali: Skepticism and Denial of All Knowledge. Psychology, Religion, & Politics. 2008. Available at: http://zakisamsudin.blogspot.com/2008/08/al-ghazali-skepticism-and-denial-of-all.html
In philosophy, there is a theory that holds that we humans do not know things directly, but only by their particular impressions on what we observe, or attempt to understand. In other words, all knowledge is expressed through doubt and skepticism. This idea, called Rationalism, focuses on the impressions that are made to us cognitively. Combining this with empiricism, which allows knowledge to come to us based on senses, the real critical question becomes: can human beings be certain of anything, regardless of whether we learn about it through senses or intellect, and if we can, then what is our relationship to known objects? e also must ask if we as the "learner" actually changes the knowledge based on our interference or experimentation, therefore negating the truth of that knowledge in the first place.
The fact that mathematics holds many truths for some was not lost on Rene Descartes,…
Descartes, R. Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy. Trans. D. Cress. 4th. New York: Hackett Publishing, 1999. Print.
Spinoza defines "substance" as "what is in itself and is conceived through itself, i.e. that whose concept doesn't have to be formed out of the concept of something else." He defines "attribute" as "what the intellect perceives of a substance as constituting its essence."
Spinoza sets up his argument for the nondivisibility of God by establishing that substances are exclusive. In Proposition 2, he establishes that "Two substances having different attributes have nothing in common with one another." In proposition 5, he establishes that "In Nature there cannot be two or more substances having the same nature or attribute."
Spinoza demonstrates that, if God is infinite, God can never create anything which is separate from God.
In Proposition 3, he establishes that "If things have nothing in common with one another, one of them cannot be the cause of the other." In proposition 6, he establishes that "One substance can't…
Locke, in opposition to Descartes, believed that empirical, or sensory, knowledge is to be trusted over innate knowledge. By empirical knowledge, Locke referred to any ideas derived from external sensory experiences of the body, or internal sensory experiences involving reflection of the mind. He claimed that every idea or piece of knowledge held by a particular man can be traced to either sensation or reflection, therefore there is no proof that innate knowledge is necessary or even exists. Furthermore, Locke said innate knowledge cannot be trusted because it is not available to all men; the mentally disabled and the very young are clearly not "born" with the ability to comprehend rational concepts the way other men are. Finally, Locke argues that empiricism is superior to innate knowledge because even among men of equal age and intelligence, there is tremendous variation among what those men "know." If this knowledge…
It is the mind that is the source of ideas, even those which we are very certain of, and not the senses or the imagination. From our mind, we learn about our bodies and every other material thing in the world.
In my opinion, Descartes was right in arguing that the mind is the source of our ideas. Everything else we know, we know because we thought about it and accepted that it exists. We experience many things on a daily basis and what we think of our experiences becomes our idea of the experience. An experience can be a sad one if we think that it is a sad experience. However, the same experience could be just an ordinary experience if we do not think that it is sad. However, we know whether an idea is true or false based on our experiences and the knowledge of other people…
Descartes, Rene. Meditations on First Philosophy.
Steup, Matthias. "Epistemology." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 14 December 2005. 21 April 2009
Relationship of Certainty to God From Descartes Compare ith Gassedi, Pascal, and Spinoza
The French philosopher Rene Descartes was one of the most transformational figures of his time and his work is now considered one of the pillars of modern estern philosophy. Descartes was the first to eloquently describe the issues that are related to the problem of how the mind and brain function, how they are related, and the mysterious connection that exists that provides the foundation in which human consciousness can exist. Descartes was also skeptical of many of the assumption that were previously taken for granted as truth. For example, Descartes was unsure of how reliable the human senses were at providing reliable interpretations of whatever the external reality that exists happens to be.
Descartes skepticism of the senses serves as a critical component of his overall worldview and how he believed that the external environment and…
Mahon, J. (N.d.). Descartes vs. Spinoza on Substance and Attributes. Retrieved from Washington & Lee: http://home.wlu.edu/~mahonj/Spinoza.Descartes.htm
Spinoza, B. (n.d.). The Ethics.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2013, November 18). Perre Gassendi. Retrieved from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/gassendi/
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2016, July 4). Baruch Spinoza. Retrieved from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/spinoza/
Sensory experiences are nor reliable for making any statements, since people often mistake one thing for another. (Descartes talks about mirages). Knowledge based on reasoning is not always trustworthy, because people often make mistakes. (adding numbers is a classical example). Finally, knowledge is deemed by Descartes to be illusory, since it may come from dreams or insanity or from demons able to deceive men by making them believe that they are experiencing the real world, when are they are in fact not doing so. (the metaphysical approach in Descartes work is can be easily recognized here).
Following this analysis of existent forms of knowledge, Descartes concludes that certainty can be found in his intuition that, even if deceived, if he thinks he must exist: "Cogito ergo sum." The thought ("cogito") is a self-evident truth that gives certain knowledge of a particular thing's existence, i.e. one's self, but only the existence…
9. Dicker G, Descartes: An Analytical and Historical Introduction," Oxford, 1993
10. Flage D.E., Bonnen C.A., Descartes and Method: The Search for a Method in the Meditations," Routledge, 1999
Brians P., Gallwey M., Hughes D., Hussain, a., Law R., Myers M., Neville M., Schlesinger R., Spitzer a, Swan S. "Reading About the World," Volume 2, published by Harcourt Brace Custom Books. - excerpts from Descartes' works
Aquinas and Descartes
The discourse on the relationship between mind and matter and between human being and nature has been a pervasive theme throughout the history of Western philosophy. The philosophical views of Thomas Aquinas and Rene Descartes represent diametrically opposed aspects of this problem.
From Aristotle, Aquinas derived the concept of matter, not as an inert subject but having the potential to attain form. Aquinas does recognize the distinction between form and matter and stated that all physical creations have these two aspects. However, matter is not something separate and distinct but has the potentiality for actualization. In his commentary on Aristotle's De Anima he stated that, "Matter is that which is not as such a 'particular thing,' but is in mere potency to become a 'particular thing. " (K. Foster et al. 215)
In order to understand the often complex issue of Aquinas and the relationship between humanity…
Anscombe E. And Geach P. ( Trans) Rene Descartes .'Reply to the Fourth Set of Objections," reprinted in Descartes' Philosophical Writings, (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill,1971).
Brinton, Crane. Ideas and Men: The Story of Western Thought. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1963.
Blackburn, Simon. The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Boas, George. Dominant Themes of Modern Philosophy, a History. New York: Ronald Press Co., 1957.
Descartes: An Assessment of Readings Descartes
1.) What does Descartes’ mean when he claims, “I think, therefore I am”? Please describe the method he utilized to reach this conclusion. In your opinion, is this maxim a convincing foundation to base our knowledge of the world?
In the words of Rene Descartes, “I am, I exist, is necessarily true each time that I pronounce it, or that I mentally conceive it.” In “I think, therefore I am”, Descartes is simply building up on his ideal of what could be referred to as radical doubt. On this front, the idea is that we cannot deem something as being true on the basis of the mere perception of the sane. Descartes makes the observation that the only thing we can be certain of is that we have consciousness and a mind as without these, there would be no perceptions to be believed or doubts…
Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz are often accurately portrayed as the key figures representing the Continental rationalism. Continental rationalism is characterized by a belief that truth can be deduced from human reason, and that certain innate, or self-evident ideas form the basis for such knowledge. In contrast, British empiricism saw the source of knowledge could be found in experience and through the senses. hile the works of Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz contain significant differences, they share the common beliefs in: 1) reason as the ultimate source of knowledge, 2) Leibniz' principle of sufficient reason, and 3) the idea that knowledge must come from self-evident, a priori truths. The belief in innate principles or ideas characterized the work of Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz, and is probably best characterized through their shared belief in the idea of a deity.
Overview of Rationalism and Empiricism
Continental rationalism argues essentially that the ultimate source of…
Descartes, Rene. Descartes: Meditations on First Philosophy. Prentice Hall, 1960.
Hauptli, Bruce W. Continental Rationalism Characterized. Florida International University,
2003. 08 November 2004.
Plato and Descartes
Plato concept of innate goodness and Descartes descriptions of human reasoning for being good both provide a foundation for man's need to better understand the basic and spiritual goodness found within human nature. In Plato's Republic, he provides many anthologies that help one to discover their own goodness. Descartes gives many logical reasons within his work, Meditations, that help to explain why the human mind reflects God's natural ability to be good, but when human error occurs, the ability to have a pure mind disappears. This paper will discuss the similarities of Plato's and Descartes' concept of man's ability to be good.
Book VI of The Republic defines Plato's concept of "good" and provides many various descriptions to help guide others to better understand the nature of what it means to be "good." Plato's idea of "being good" eventually will lead to an "end in itself" and…
Bloom, A. (1991). The Republic of Plato. New York: Basic Books.
The Economist. (1988). "Book review of The Trail of Socrates." 306 (2) 89.
Jowett, B. Plato's Republic. Retrieved November 23, 2003, at http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.html .
Rene Descartes." World of Scientific Discovery, 2nd ed. Gale Group, 1999. Reproduced I Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: The Gale Group. 2004. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC.Document Number: K1648000167
Plato, Descartes, And the Matrix
The Matrix can be compared with Plato and Descartes. While that might seem like a very odd comparison, there are many similarities. In each scenario, there is the concept of reality and how to determine what is real and what is not. While it may seem as though it is easy to tell if something is real or not real, the truth is more complicated. People can have experiences in their lives that feel completely unreal to them, and they can have dreams that feel so real that they have trouble understanding why they have ended once they wake up. Naturally, that is a serious concern for people who are attempting to really understand the truth. There are some differences in the three works, though, because Plato was fixated more on people seeing something while they were awake and not being exposed to anything else.…
This concept is implausible if there is a just and loving God, but if some evil genius had created the world instead -- along with human understanding of God -- then every single belief could be brought into doubt. Essentially, Descartes takes the null hypothesis regarding mental interpretations of the external world. Still, this construction of absolute doubt is merely a portion of Descartes' argument, because he intends to find some undeniable truth -- a principle beyond doubt -- which can destroy the premise that nothing can be known. In his Meditations he words this as "I am, I exist." This statement -- at other times worded as 'I think, therefore I am' -- is accepted by Descartes because even a maniacal construction of the world could not disprove his own existence, since he believes himself to exist. Obviously, this argument depends upon some distinction between the subjective and the…
Cahn, Steven M. And Maureen Eckert. 2006. Philosophical Horizons: Introductory Readings. California: Thomson and Wadsworth.
5. Kant's "Copernican Revolution" in philosophy is in his genius use of the positive aspects of Rationalism (Descartes and so on) and Empiricism (Locke, Berkeley and Hume). How can you argue this out with the help of the "Critique of Pure Reason"?
The human experience of negotiating the universe as it seems to be presented to us is one governed by a great many assumptions. Our education of this process, and in particular our capacity to become adept or even talented in various faculties thereto, is created by experience. In experience, we gain the evolving abilities to relate to objects which we can perceive in our world. However, in order to accomplish this, there are any number of beliefs which must be possessed in us that will create a framework wherein such relating can occur. These beliefs -- and the practical, ideological and physiological experiences which are dependent upon them…
Berkeley, G. (1994). Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous. Arete Press, Claremont, CA.
Hume, D. (1738). A Treatise on the Human Nature. Escuela de Filosofia Universidad ARCIS.
Kidd, S.D. (1988). The Intersubjective Heart. Sorbonne.
Kline, A. (2009). Kierkegaard, Abraham, and the Nature of Faith. Soren Kierkegaard Biography. Online at http://atheism.about.com/od/existentialistphilosophers/a/kierkegaard_2.htm
" He also confirmed to himself that God was the origin of his thought, and therefore because his thoughts were real, God must also be real.
3. Descartes -- Senses and Knowledge
When we went outside as a class, part of Descartes ideas was visible in our observations. All the students had a different perception of the external world. Some focused on certain people and certain objects, which were not seen in the same exact way as another student. This shows that the human mind sees a unique version of what our senses tell us is reality. Reality, might however, escape the limitations of the human mind. For instance, a particular relation to a person and an object, this case a tree, might be seen as being a certain way in my mind but a much different way in another student's mind. Each person's unique experience, through the perception of…
Descartes systematic approach to establishing an understanding of that which is rationally true inherently called on him to reject all assumed notions of what was true. This 'atheist' thought which he rejected would be characterized by its unfounded but universally accepted nature. By casting doubt and applying testing methods to assumed facts, Descartes sought to provide a living framework entirely governed by empiricism. Such a doctrine inclined Descartes to conclude that man could not accept himself to be capable of distinguishing between his experiences as he dreams and those which he has while awake. Descartes' assessment is derived from his own framework for the resolution of knowledge and, within the parameters that he had designed, is a functionally acceptable one. Indeed, he establishes meaningful similarities between our experiences in both realms.
Indeed, Descartes' view on dreams stems from his umbrella system of epistemology, which is instructed by the pursuit of…
Hume, D. (1910). An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Harvard Classics, 37: P.F. Collier & Son.
Newman, L. (1999). Descartes' Epistemology. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Mind-Body Problem- Descartes
The discussion over the relationship between mind and body that has been intriguing philosophers for a long time is divided into two broad categories: dualism and monism. According to dualism mind and body are two separate substances. There are several types of dualist views including parallelism, epiphenomenalism, occassionalism and interactionism. John Locke and ene Descartes are among those who laid the foundation of this idea. Whereas Locke and Descartes believed in Dualism, there were other famous philosophers and thinkers who supported monism. Monism refers to the theory that mind and body are inseparable and thus one is influenced by the other.
Aristotle, Hobbes, Hegel and Berkeley were some of the well-known theorists who believed in monism though their views differed slightly. Monist arguments were in direct contrast with dualist views but it is Philosophical writings of ene Descartes (1596-1650) and his dualism theory that paves the way…
Flew A. (1979): A Dictionary of Philosophy, London: Pan Books Ltd.
R. Rorty,(1980) Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature: Princeton.
Plato and Descartes
Cephalus defines morality and justice as praying to the gods in the correct manner. However, Socrates argues that, rather than an active practice of goodness or justice, Cephalus is merely trying to morally shield himself from ill consequences of his acts, acting out of fear rather than justice or virtue.
Q2.Thrasymachus defines justice as might making right, namely that justice is merely determined by whomever is stronger in the society at a particular point in time, against which Socrates argues that to argue for such a self-serving manner of government would be as to argue that a physician exists merely to serve his own health, rather than the health of a patient.
Q3. A thing may be good in reason, spirit, and appetite -- a distinction made by Socrates to set up the need for a threefold caste system in the ideal society.
Q4.For Glaucon, it would…
Descartes' Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy
Rene Descartes' biggest contribution to humanity and indeed, the sciences lies in his attempting to define a method of objective thinking, thereby encouraging academicians and all of humanity to constantly challenge and therefore further their knowledge of both the material world as well as the more intangible aspects of the Universe.
Descartes believed that all knowledge could only be regarded as 'true' if it had the certainty and evidence of mathematics. Descartes' Discourse on the "Method for Conducting One's Reason Well" is his attempt to apply the precision of mathematics to all fields of knowledge. Descartes' Method involved regarding the value of formal education in largely teaching the languages "...necessary for the understanding of classical texts..." (Part One, p 3), while the pursuit of true knowledge required independent thinking to "...distinguish the true from the false, in order to see my…
Context of Descartes' Method: Clarity and Distinctness." The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. URL:
Descartes, Ren e. "Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy." Translated by Cress, Donald A. Hackett Publishing Company. Fourth edition.
Weber, Alfred. "History of Philosophy." University of Idaho, Department of Philosophy Web site. URL:
Descartes: Dualism and Ethics
While Descartes Meditations don't actually mention the word 'ethics' his writing nevertheless deals with them to some extent. In his Meditations, Descartes talks about the nature and existence of both God and human beings. He ponders how humans can ever be sure of their own existence, because their senses lie to them all of the time, and there is no way to prove that what they can see, hear, and touch really exists.
This deals with ethics because people must believe in their senses in order to act on what they see around them. With the belief that nothing is real, there is no reason to remain ethical about anything. Ethics relate to how a person perceives the world and what they do about what they see. Because of this, perceptions and senses must be believed in order to know how to respond to the stimulus…
If it was a dream, then the programmers clearly attempted to incorporate background realism. For example, the characters get dirty; like sweat, dirt is not something that the programmers would need to create to have realistic humans, but there is dirt on people. If one accepts the premise that the entire story is a dream, it is not difficult to take an additional step and assume that the programmers would think to have a character, who is supposed to appear nervous, sweating while he was on screen.
7. There are clues throughout the movie that the hero could use to discover whether his experiences were veridical or not. Perhaps the best clue is foreshadowed at the beginning of the movie and comes at the end of the movie; the appearance of the blue sky on Mars. Having never been to Mars, I have to rely upon my own conjecture, but…
Forster, M. (2006). Stranger than Fiction. Los Angeles: Columbia Pictures.
Jonze, S. (1999). Being John Malkovich. Los Angeles: Gramercy Pictures.
Nolan, C. (2000). Inception. Los Angeles: Warner Bros. Pictures.
Nolan, C. (2000). Memento. Los Angeles: Newmarket Capital Group.
Aquinas argues that the fact that man can perceive himself to be true serves as a validation for God's existence; however this is dissimilar to Descartes impressions of the Mediator who, according to the philosopher, is capable of mistaking that which is certain and uncertain.
It is important to remember to distinguish fact from fiction; will from intellect. In this presentation I believe that Aquinas and Anselm intermingled the two, suggesting that intellect and will are more similar than different. This clearly offers a different interpretation of what is certain and uncertain as Descartes might argue that the intellect is certain but the will or mind may interpret that which is certain incorrectly.
Descartes, ene. The philosophical writings of Descartes, Vol. II. Trans. John Cottingham, obert Stoothoff, and Dugald Murdoch. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 1984.
Egan, David. SparkNote on Meditations on First Philosophy. 3, May 2007 http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/meditations.
Descartes, Rene. The philosophical writings of Descartes, Vol. II. Trans. John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff, and Dugald Murdoch. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 1984.
Egan, David. SparkNote on Meditations on First Philosophy. 3, May 2007 http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/meditations .
S. This is surprisingly similar to Descartes' meditations suggesting the human mind is impossible to understand fully.
D. While the philosopher again confirms a distinction between the mind and intellect as Descartes might, he does not provide physical evidence that God exists, only suggests that some "form" of intellect must direct everything in nature.
How is it possible, then, that we can come to know anything?
Methodological doubt is best represented in the first of the Meditations, "hat can be called into doubt."
In this meditation, the meditator is forced to think about everything that he has believed throughout the course of his life. He must then make a conscious decision to do away with all of these lies and begin again so that the basis of his knowledge is free of any lies.
4. hat is the difference between atheism and agnosticism?
Atheism means that there is a denial of theism (i.e., the existence of God) while agnosticism means that there is a question concerning the existence of God, a heaven, or any type of spiritual being. An atheist would believe that God does not exist and therefore does not have any control over his or her life while an agnostic would believe…
Allison, Henry E. Kant's Transcendental Idealism: An Interpretation and Defense. Yale University Press; Rev Exp edition, 2004.
Descartes, Rene., Cottingham, John., Ameriks, Karl. & Clarke, Desmond M. Descartes:
Meditations on First Philosophy: With Selections from the Objections and Replies. Cambridge University Press; Revised edition, 1996.
Kierkegaard, Soren. Fear and Trembling (Penguin Classics). Penguin Classics, 1986.
Can person skeptical, limits? Is doubt? Does a person obligation ethical moral reasoning examining beliefs. Are beliefs possessed challenged shown false? How skeptic respond claim a belief doubted? Identify specific belief present response skeptic.
Philosophical skepticism: Its limits
Some philosophers have asserted that it is impossible to know anything and adopt a position of radical skepticism. "Philosophical skepticism attempts to render doubtful every member of a class of propositions that we think falls within our ken" (Klein 2011). An example of philosophical skepticism is manifested in Descartes' Meditations in which the philosopher begins by doubting everything. How does he know, Descartes asks, that the world is not a dream? It is widely accepted that persons may be subject to delusions and cannot accurately perceive reality, but what is to assure us this is not true of the entire world? "Visual experience is in fact notoriously unreliable about certain matters.…
Grosen, P. (n.d.) Cartesian skepticism. Princeton University. Retrieved:
Kemerling, Garth. (2011). Hume: Epistemology. Philosophy Pages. Retrieved:
Existentialism takes the human subject -- the holistic human, and the internal conditions as the basis and start of the conceptual way of explaining life. Taking idealism From Descartes, Kant, and Hegel, then building upon it, existentialist thinkers strip away the external and look at questions that surround human existence, and the conditions of that existence, rather than hypothesizing or dreaming of different forms of being. Thus, the inward philosophical emotions, angst, dread, self-doubt, self-esteem, etc. are experiences of the historical process, and the process of learning and moving through "existence" into a less fragile, more concrete, way of self-actualization. The existentialist concept of freedom is the manner in which internal values are set and interact with external historical trends. ather than humans being primarily rational, they make decisions when and if they find meaning (Solomon)
Existentialism asserts that people actually make decisions based solely on the meaning to them…
Ankrom, S. "Existentialism." 27 January 2009. About.com. November 2010 .
Beiser, F. The Cambridge Companion to Hegel and 19th Century Philosophy. Cembridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Brickhouse, T. Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Plato and the Trial of Socrates. New York: Routledge, 2004.
Cross, E. "Branches of Philosophy." September 2009. Elliottcross.com. November 2010 .
Cartesian dualism emerges from Descartes's approach of radical skepticism. Wanting to know what can be determined to be absolutely true, Descartes begins by doubting all sensory perception as fundamentally external and liable to interference. Just as we understand that hallucination exists as a real phenomenon -- whereby we might "see" an object that is not really there -- we may come to understand that all the evidence obtained from eyesight may not necessarily be a valid representation of the external world. Indeed, we do not even have to refer to the pathological category of hallucination to understand what it would mean to find sensory evidence to be deceptive. In his recent book on hallucinations, the noted neuroscientist Dr. Oliver Sacks (2012) makes reference to "dreams, which one can argue are hallucinations of a sort" (xiii). Anyone who has had a vivid dream knows that they contain visual, auditory, and…
Churchland, PM. (1988). Matter and consciousness: A contemporary introduction to the philosophy of mind. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Descartes, R. (1999). Discourse on method and Meditations on first philosophy. 4th ed. Trans. D. Cress. New York: Hackett.
Sacks, O. (2012). Hallucinations. New York: Knopf.
The implications of Spinoza's thinking in light of Descartes' assertions of the mind-body split ultimately come to nothing. If the real distinction between the mind and body exists as Descartes insists it does, then the object of the idea constituting the human mind cannot be the body except through a mistake made in the mind (or in the body) and its thinking process. That is, it is through a misconception of the mind that confuses perception with rational understanding that such a conclusion would be drawn, in Descartes' own experience. Pushing Spinoza's logic to its limits reveals the rectitude of Descartes' own assessment of the real distinction between the thinking mind and the unthinking body. If all thought and experience comes through the body as Spinoza insists, and thus the concept of the mind is truly an understanding of the body, then how can the body come to know itself?…
Thus, the analytic approach offers the best method of approaching philosophical questions, because it understands and explicates the problems and limitations of human consciousness immediately by intentionally discussing language itself, because no philosophical work can ever escape the linguistic and therefore philosophical limitations placed upon human thought by the borders of language.
The answer to the question "who am I" is revealed to be the "I" itself, made into a "who" in every instance of the word's utterance (whether aloud or in the mind of a reader). hereas the two earlier philosophical approaches attempted to remove and separate the philosopher from the object of his or her study, the analytic approach realizes that everything, including the philosopher and his or her thought, are the objects of language and therefore ideology, such that the philosopher is reduced in importance in relation to the communication between humans, and the particular consciousness of…
Austin, J.L. (1946). "Other Minds." Classics of analytic philosophy. (2003). Indianapolis, IN:
Hackett Publishing Company.
Descartes, R. (2008). Discourse on the method and the meditations. New York, NY: Cosimo Inc.
Moore, G.E. (1939). "Proof of an external world." Classics of analytic philosophy. (2003).
This can occur without any human intervention. Therefore the issue of permanence becomes incomprehensible to man, regardless of science and logic (or perhaps because of it). As such, we cannot legitimately claim that any object or form is "real" because in order to be truly real, it was have to be explicable. Thus in Phaedrus, Socrates asserts:
"I must dare to speak the truth, when truth is my theme. There abides the very being with which true knowledge is concerned; the colourless, formless, intangible essence, visible only to mind, the pilot of the soul. The divine intelligence, being nurtured upon mind and pure knowledge, and the intelligence of every soul which is capable of receiving the food proper to it, rejoices at beholding reality, and once more gazing upon truth, is replenished and made glad, until the revolution of the worlds brings her round again to the same place."
Alston, William and Brandt, Richard, the Problems of Philosophy: Introductory Readings, Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 3rd ed., 1978
Descartes, Rene, Meditations I. available online http://www.wright.edu/cola/descartes/ meditation1.html' target='_blank' REL='NOFOLLOW'>
In other words, like Plato, the body is inferior and its substance is irrelevant for true and certain knowledge. The intellect with its faculties (judgment, imagination, memory, free will, etc.) is most important.
The sixth meditation is the crucial one. He shows the body as "an extended, non-thinking thing" (VII: 78). This is accepted as being close to who he is, but not as close as the mind part. "And accordingly," he says, "it is certain that I am really distinct from my body, and can exist without it" (VII: 78). In other words, the mind and the body are separate, not dependent on each other. This is not exactly an argument for the immortality of the soul in the Platonic way. but, as Wilson says, "He now determines that there is no reason why the death or destruction of the body should entail the death or destruction of the…
Annas, Julia. Plato: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Descartes, Rene. Meditations on First Philosophy with Selections from the Objections and Replies. Trans. And ed. John Cottingham. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Kim, Jaegwon. "Mind-body problem, the." In the Oxford Companion to Philosophy, ed. Ted Honderich, 579-580. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.
Plato. Republic. Trans G.M.A. Grube. Rev C.D.C. Reeve. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1992.
Paul Tillich was one of the most famous theologians of the 20th century. He represented the 20th century movement called neo-orthodoxy. Most of Tillich's work is represented in a series of transcribed lectures. Tillich's work contains volumes of historical details and theological connections. One of his most important works is the three volume systematic theology, which details theology from 1951 to 1963.
Tillich's theology was that God exists or that God is a being. He identifies God as being itself. He quotes "God is being-itself, not a being." Tillich's theory is different from the other theologians. He does not believe in the existence of God. Theologians believed that there is no external factor in the existence of God. The general feeling is that God has not been derived from any source nor is He dependent on anything.
Argument and Example
According to Tillich, it…
1. Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, vol. 1 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951), 205, 209, 237.
2. Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, vol. 2 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957, Page 6)
3. William Rowe, Religious Symbols and God (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968), 76-77
4. Forrest E. Baird, "Descartes' Epistemology." New Jersey: Upper Saddle River, 2000.
Robert Nozick in his book The Examined Life considers in one chapter "The Nature of God, the Nature of Faith," a major philosophical issue that has been addressed through history by many philosophers. Nozick himself cites Descartes in his introduction and then develops the idea of God, considers how that conception was formed, why it persists, and how it has been tested and might be tested. e know that millions of people believe in God, and we might simply accept that this is so or even accept that God is real, which is why people believe in Him. The philosopher, however, wants to know whether God does or does not exist and in any case why people have faith in the idea of God.
Descartes originally asserted that there was only one thing that he could see as certain -- his own existence. He later came to see that there…
Nozick, Robert. The Examined Life: Philosophical Meditations. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989.
The question arising from this claim is whether evidence exists to prove that there exists an infinitely good, powerful, and wise God where morality naturally emerges. Humes argues that is hard to imagine that an all-good, powerful God exists in this world full of pain and misery. From these claims, one can argue that this insight, or God, has both evil and good, as is present in man if man is in God's image and likeliness.
Immanuel Kant: from the Critique of Pure Reason, the Good Will and the Categorical Imperative, the Postulates of Practical Reason
Kant believes that the vigorous application of same methods of reasoning can yield to an equal development in dealing with the issues of moral philosophy. Kant proposes a list of categories of Freedom in Relation to the concept of good vs. evil. Kant uses logical distinction as the basis for the catalog. Even though…
civilized societies develop rules and laws that its members are expected to follow. The rules are in place for the purpose of cohesive living among the community and for the most part they have a positive impact on the society that they govern. In this scenario the rules and laws are not followed and in fact are completely disobeyed, yet the person who violates the societal norm not only gets away with it, but he is rewarded for his actions by being elected as a leader and ruling in power for the remainder of his life. Two well-known philosophers bring to light some understanding about how this could have happened.
In the scenario a man named John murders a mean and ruthless person who has lied and cheated his way to the top. The victim is so rich that others in the community are forced to go hungry while he…
Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
Nietzsche often identified life itself with "will to power," that is, with an instinct for growth and durability. This concept provides yet another way of interpreting the ascetic ideal, since it is Nietzsche's contention "that all the supreme values of mankind lack this will -- that values which are symptomatic of decline, nihilistic values, are lording it under the holiest names" (Kaufmann 1959). Thus, traditional philosophy, religion, and morality have been so many masks a deficient will to power wears. The sustaining values of estern civilization have been sublimated products of decadence in that the ascetic ideal endorses existence as pain and suffering. Some commentators have attempted to extend Nietzsche's concept of the will to power from human life to the organic and inorganic realms, ascribing a metaphysics of will to power to him (Kaufmann 1959).
The insidious process by which we ascribe attributes to our fictitious consciousness has…
Call, L. Nietzsche as Critic and Captive of Enlightenment. 1995.
Descartes, R. Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy, 4th Ed. Translated by D. Cress. Hackett Publishing Company, 1999.
Berkeley, G. Principles of Human Knowledge / Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous.
USA: Penguin Classics, 1988.
Metaphysical Methods of Inquiry
The philosopher Rene Descartes adopted what he called a 'metaphysical' or rationalist approach to understanding the world and the relationship of the human to the divine. In contrast to a physical approach a 'meta-physical' inquiry, as the word suggests, is a method of reasoning that takes the thinker outside of the physical world and confines the philosopher's focus to the mind when establishing what is true. The great strength of the metaphysical approach, according to Descartes, is that it is not polluted by the potential delusions of the material world, in contrast to an empiricist or scientific approach. Metaphysics is deductive, rather than inductive in nature. It makes suppositions based upon evidence, reasoning from first, established principles, rather than creating principles based upon sensory evidence. "But while my senses may deceive me about what is small or far away, there may still be other things taken…
This object, though, sets in human consciousness in many divergent ways -- perception, memory, retention, etc. Depending on the manner in which the idea is intentional, the object may be identical but interpreted different and thus a divergent sense of reality for individuals. Opposite of Descartes and Kant, there is no one finite way of describing this object and it is entirely dependent upon the method of reduction and interpretation in which we find meaning. hen we reference a thing, this object, then, we are closer to representing a Platonian version of forms or ideas in that thing -- the thing's essence or idea. Some say that when we describe an identical thing as what we really "see" or measure, it does not mean that this is the entirety of the thing. The ultimate goal of phenomenology, then, is to understand how these different aspects are merged into the actual…
Phenomenology. (2008). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University. Retrieved from: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/phenomenology/
Annas, J. (2003). Plato: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press.
Audi, R., ed. (1999). The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Cooper, C. (January 12, 2008). Remarks on Simone Weil's Mysticism. Retrieved from:
While there is plenty to criticize in the work of Descartes, Locke, and Hume, one cannot justifiably claim that Jose Vasconcelos criticisms of traditional Western views on the nature of knowledge apply to these theorists if only because Vasconcelos' criticisms do not really apply to anything, as his criticisms are largely based on straw men. This is not to say that traditional Western views on the nature of knowledge should be free from criticism, but rather that the problems with these traditional views are more fundamental than Vasconcelos realizes, to the point that Vasconcelos suffers from many of these same issues. Essentially, both Vasconcelos and the previously mentioned authors suffer from a simply ignorance regarding the functioning of the human brain, the nature of consciousness and memory, and the evolutionary processes by which organisms and ideas evolve, with this ignorance born out of an implicit or explicit maintenance of…