The fifth chapter turns from metaphysics to physics and applies his universal laws to scientific pursuits. The fifth chapter offers the reader one of the most challenging of applications, the superiority of man over beast, as the beast contains no soul, no reason and no thinking mind, and according to Descarts this is easily assumed because animals do not talk, therefore they do not reason and have no mind separate from their body. They are mechanisms of the universe, just as machines are mechanisms of the world of man. The modern reader, with a greater understanding of the animal and biological world is likely to argue that this is an example of the assumptions made trough tradition, as so much more is understood about the working of animals and the application of so many ideas of "social thought" than was ever imagined before and most modern people assume that man…… [Read More]
However, there are numerous beliefs that his argument leaves unchallenged. When we dream, although the particular beliefs we form ("I am falling from an airplane.") are often false, the materials for our dream (airplanes, physical objects) come from things we experience when waking, and we can still rest assured that some of these things exist. Therefore, the dreaming argument leaves unchallenged our belief in general truths about the world (the belief that we have hands and what these hands do for us).
One of the reasons Descartes believed his mind to be essentially non-physical is that he found himself able to doubt the existence of all physical objects (even his own hand) but could not doubt that he was a thinking being (Williams, 1998). Descartes also believed that, in contrast to the physical world, the mind was an indivisible unit.
Even Descartes realized that mind and body were unable to…… [Read More]
Descartes viewed that the whole of human knowledge was a tree, with each part relying on the others for the purposes of functioning - and, in a philosophical sense, validity. The tree's trunk was comparable to physics. The branches Descartes considered to be the applied sciences of morals, medicine, and mechanic. The roots of the tree provided support and nourishment to the whole of the system; these roots, Descartes believed, were metaphysics, which he defined as the study of the nature of God, the universe, and everything contained in it. Descartes intended the Principles to serve as a coherent picture of that tree. He hoped that the Principles would serve as a foundational guide to his thought - and all philosophical thought, in general.
Descartes was reacting to a philosophical worldview that was dominated by Aristotle and the teachings of the Scholastics. The Scholastics were concerned with natural philosophy and…… [Read More]
Rene Descartes: hy Psychology Cannot be a Science Like Physics
The philosophies and concepts presented in Rene Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy illustrate several reasons why psychology cannot be a science like physics. These concepts include that truths are based on clear and distinct ideas, that the mind is not an object but a separate entity, that human psychology is a product of a reflex action between the mind and the body, and that truth can only be obtained by judging ideas based on observing experiments. Each of these concepts will now be looked at in turn, relating it to psychology as a science.
Meditations on First Philosophy is Descartes' attempt to question everything around him and determine what can really be accepted as truth and what cannot. The one sure thing this is based on is that Descartes exists. The reasoning is that if he did not exist, he…… [Read More]
This phrase talks about the first bit of knowledge in Descartes' philosophy, i.e. The existence of thinking self. This is "... The clearest, and best known substance for him [thinking individual]. Upon this foundation, Descartes builds all his other knowledge claims" (Hauptli, 2008, Chapter 27). The formulation argues that one's existence is deemed true the moment one raises its existence or this existence is conceived in human mind (Descartes in Newman, 2005). This does not necessarily hold that what exists is the substantial self as Descartes continues, "But I do not yet have a sufficient understanding of what this 'I' is, that now necessarily exists" (ibid, Chapter 4). Hence it can be inferred that the existence can hold as far as whatever I, the thinking thing, turns out to be (ibid).
Hauptli, B.W. (2008). Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding. etrieved from www.fiu.edu/~hauptli/Locke'sEssayBookII.html. onMarch 7.
Landauer, J. & owlands, J.…… [Read More]
Descartes - Passions
Descartes separated the functions of the mind from the functions of the "machine of the body," stating that the body operates more like the motions of a watch, which are produced merely by the inner springs and wheels (Article 16). He felt that there was nothing remaining within ourselves that could be attributed to the soul except for our thoughts, and these he felt could be further categorized into two kinds: actions of the soul and passions of the soul. The "actions," he felt, were those pertaining to the human will (17), and the passions of the soul, he felt could better be described as apprehensions.
The will or actions, he further broke down into two separate categories - one being the application of thought to any object which is not material, such as God, and the other being thought that brings about obedient motion of the…… [Read More]
Descartes might, however, point out that it does not matter which forms or symbols are used so long as direct knowledge is acquired. Furthermore, it would be impossible to completely separate the artist from the form; or even the viewer from the form. Mathematics is a purer means of representing reality than painting or language.
Both Descartes and Langer would surrender to the inevitability of symbolic communication. Even mathematics involves the use of symbols. Langer points out that thought "begins and ends with language; without the elements, at least, of scientific grammar, conception must be impossible," (88). As they recognize familiar structures and forms as well as colors in their works of art, Langer and Descartes would also discover that all symbols -- elements of language or not -- have a certain type of structure. hat makes language meaningful is its structure, its linearity, and its discursiveness. Language does at…… [Read More]
"I have never written about the infinite except to submit myself to it, and not to determine what it is or not..."
Philosopher Rene Descartes
Were he alive and intellectually active in these times of terrorism and uncertainty, of AIDS and anthrax and animal cloning, what would Rene Descartes be doing? Were he awakening these mornings in 2003 to recount his expansive dreams in writings, and generate his geometric formulae, while the drumbeats of war numb the mind and pictures of African children break the heart, what would Descartes be planning? And were Descartes among us today, while the utter folly a/la Joe Millionaire (will Joe choose Sara or Zora?) occupies "civilized" dialogue - and suicide bombers pull the switch in crowded public places - what would he be writing? Moreover, wouldn't it be refreshing - and curative - to have a prolific mind, a true visionary genius…… [Read More]
Speaking of innate and universal "truths," Locke argues: "If therefore children and idiots have souls, have minds, with those impressions upon them, they must unavoidably perceive them, and necessarily know and assent to these truths; which, since they do not, it is evident that there are no such impressions" (Locke).
Finally, Locke claims that the "blank slate" of an infant's mind, also called the "tabula rasa," offers proof that innate knowledge does not exist. As he points out, there is great variation between the painted canvasses of men's minds, all depending upon what the individual experiences, reflects upon, and chooses to give his attention to after birth (Locke). If Descartes' theory about innate knowledge is true, all men would share the same set of ideas. However, as Locke points out: "Men then come to be furnished with fewer or more simple ideas from without, according as the objects they converse…… [Read More]
Philosopher ene Descartes wrote, "I think, therefore I am." While Descartes used this phrase to put into perspective his beliefs on the philosophical debate of existence, this quote resonates to most philosophical layman today as a motto for achieving anything that they may set their mind to. However, the manner in which one thinks -- positively or negatively -- also adds a great deal to what I perceive the quote to mean. In interpreting this quote in this manner, as I do, it can be used in conjunction with attaining certain life goals, including my own: to finish my career successfully, be a good professional, and above all be a good wife and mother for my family. In viewing these goals, one can also understand how these goals can be achieved and maintained in the long run through the application of Descartes' thinking and with positive thinking as a whole.…… [Read More]
The creation of a "sensory bar" and the First Meditation of Rene Descartes
At the beginning of the "First Meditation" the French philosopher Rene Descartes takes a philosophical posture known as radical skepticism: he resolves to doubt anything that cannot be proven. After all, he rationalizes, he is aware of the fact that sometimes he is dreaming and since this is the case, might not all the world be a dream? "As if I were not a man who sleeps at night and often has all the same experiences while asleep as madmen do when awake -- indeed sometimes even more improbable ones. Often in my dreams I am convinced of just such familiar events -- that I am sitting by the fire in my dressing-gown -- when in fact I am lying undressed in bed" (Descartes 1). The "sensory module" theoretically attempts to circumvent this possibility, alerting…… [Read More]
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.…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
Descartes -- Discourse on the Method
ene Descartes was firmly rooted in the idea that all questions could be answered through mathematical or scientific means. His approach to constructing solutions, verifying knowledge, or establishing truths was methodical and based in the principles that had been established by others in relevant disciplines and were believed at the time to be reliable. He was the consummate introvert, believing that answers existed within and were achievable if he resolutely followed the methods he set out for himself.
Descartes' pursuit of the nature of truth and error -- indeed, the origin of truth and error -- began with his belief that people can come to a knowledge of things through their knowledge of God. He held the conviction that God is perfect and that a perfect being would find it impossible to be deceptive. Contrarily, Descartes was fully in tune with his own capacity…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
The philosopher differed radically from Descartes in the fact that he believed that every physical manifestation to be found (and evidenced of a body or a sensory perception of something) stemmed from an idea. Spinoza contended that thoughts begot the physical process of motion, creation, or any other physical application, and that the intellect which produced such thoughts and the physical manifestations of them should therefore not be considered distinct from one another. It is noteworthy to mention that Descartes also held a an alternate account of the mind-body dualism in which he conceded there could be some incomprehensible union, for which he offered no explanation for and therefore cannot defensibly be compared to Spinoza's conception of this union (oss, 1998).
Therefore, when considering Spinoza's regards for human emotions as to whether or not they are part of bodily or mental processes, the answer is he believes they are related…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
Descartes Discourse IV
For centuries, humans have wondered about certain basic paradigms of the universe -- how do we know what we know? Is there truth? Is there a God? How can we prove that? While we know that this basic question has been debated for centuries, it was ene' Descartes who focused more that only the discovery of reasonable knowledge and eternal truths were found by reason alone. These truths, for Descartes, included the basic language of the universe for him -- mathematics, as well as the foundations of the sciences as a whole. Other knowledge, for example the knowledge required by utilizing one's experiences within the world, were aided by epistemological study (Markie, 2004).
Thus, one of the main contributions of Descartes to the philosophical discourse was that as a result of his method of rationalization, reason alone determines knowledge -- completely independent of other senses. In basic…… [Read More]
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,…… [Read More]
A similar argument is applied in human emotions (that is, emotions are also influenced by reason). Damasio explicated, a]s organisms acquired greater complexity, 'brain-caused' actions require more immediate processing...Brains can have many intervening steps in the circuits mediating between stimulus and response, and still have no mind, if they do not meet an essential condition: the ability to display images internally and to order those images in a process called thought
In this passage, Damasio made clear that, reason or emotion, the brain undergoes the same neurological processes that make the generation of either "reason" or "emotion" as an 'objective' task.
This analysis from Damasio has serious implications in the way we view issues of ethics and morality today. For years, humanity is able to explication human actions based on its rationality -- whether the action is sound and logical compared against actions that are motivated by emotion only. By…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
Descartes Mechanical Philosophy and Leibniz reaction to it. It has 7 sources.
ubstance and form
There must be something out of which change takes place." Aristotle thinks that this "out of which" is what we call matter. For Aristotle everything is composed of form and matter. Consider the example of a statue of a doll made of lump of clay, the clay is what Aristotle calls the matter and the shape of doll that it has is called its form. The result is a compound object made of matter and form, the statue of a doll. till Form and matter are not sufficient to explain change; the statue was first made of clay, which was not first a statue. The contrast between the opposite is not between the statue and the clay [Aristotle, The Physics, 2003]. The contrast is between the non-statues, the lump of clay and the statue. In…… [Read More]
life as developed by two famous philosophers. John Locke and enee Descartes both believed they had come up with an understandable and scientific philosophy about the foundation of life. The writer of this paper compares and contrasts those beliefs. There were three sources used to complete this paper.
Throughout history, mankind has tried to develop a philosophy that will explain the existence of life. There have been abstract ideas, concrete ideas, spiritual ideas and others to try and explain the foundation of life in a way that can be understood in future generations. Two of the most scientifically respected men in history worked to develop theories about the foundation of life that could be understood in a scientific manner. John Locke and enee Descartes are well-known for their theories about life. The theories have several similarities as well as several differences. The men made history with their theories about the…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
Skepticism in Philosophy: Descartes, Chisholm, and Moore's Proof of an External orld
Skepticism is a basic part of the estern philosophical tradition. It posits, at its simplest level, that human beings can never arrive at any certain knowledge about the world nor can objective truth ever be ascertained (Hooker, par. 1). hile skepticism has a long history in estern civilization, its development took a crucial turn when Rene Descartes turned himself to the question of how we can know anything. Modern skepticism is a derivation of Descartes' examination of the nature of knowledge and man's relationship to it. However, Descartes has not been accepted without question. There are many philosophers who refuse to accept the basic tenets of skepticism, including the inability for anyone to possess objective knowledge of the external world. The skeptics claim that we know significantly less about the world than we presume to know (Steup par.…… [Read More]
Objects had primary qualities of an independent of the observer, like mass, motion, texture, etcetera, as opposed to subjective qualities like color, taste, and smell. As the Matrix world was wholly subjective, it was therefore a false world and one should seek to escape it, as it shut a person out from full participation in a world of external substances, including God, and also the primary qualities of other objects. The Matrix world was entirely a world of secondary properties. Furthermore, because of Locke's stress upon human freedom, having one's body and perceptions controlled and determined by an external entity like a tyrant would be horrifying to the philosopher.
Question 2 Opinion
On an emotional level, it is hard not to cry out 'of course I would not want to dwell in the world of the Matrix and I would choose the red pill' the idea that we do not…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
Thomas Hobbes believed that all matter was in motion and would remain in that state until and unless another force changed it (Hobbes 1651). He saw that thought reflected the motion of things in the material world and affected the senses and the brain until this new motions degraded a previous one. To Hobbes, 1) everything, including the mind and the soul, is material; 2) man is born with a blank or tabula rasa mind; and 3) all mental activity proceeded from the senses.
Hobbes established a hierarchy of abstract thought levels. At the base was the representation or appearance, the first motion transmitted by the senses to the brain. Upon entry into the brain, it followed a "trayne (Hobbes)," which was the course of its motion in interacting with other representations. The power or influence of each motion decreased as it interacted, and he called this interaction imagination,…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
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.…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
philosopher Rene Descartes can be regarded as the supreme rationalist. Descartes believed that only through our rational minds could we fully know God and find evidence of God. Empirical knowledge was not sufficient justification to prove the existence of God because our senses could delude us or be faulty (such as through madness or blindness). In contrast, through rational inquiry we could first demonstrate our own existence on a mental plane: even if all is a delusion regarding the body there must be some 'mind' doing the thinking, rationalized Descartes. And, as the human mind can conceive of a greater intelligence known as God, a level of perfection human beings cannot approach, then within the very structure of our mind lies the evidence of God.
David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, however, takes the opposite, empiricist point-of-view. In the dialogue, three figures known as Demea, Cleanthes, and Philo engage in…… [Read More]
Two belief systems, then -- true believe, and justified true belief (Hauser, 1992).
Humans, however, according to Pierce, turn justified true beliefs into true beliefs by converting them into axioms. Once we have proven something there is no need to prove it again, and we use the part that was proven before to further extend our study and the inquisition of knowledge. And so it becomes necessary to accept things as the truth without proving them at every single moment. However, does not mean that the belief is an unjustified belief, for it again is the conflictual nature of justified against unjustified that, for scholars like Pierce, outpours a reality he can view as "true" (Ibid).
ene' Descartes' purpose was to make humans analyze the introspective nature of being, and to postulate on the veracity of truth as a nature of thought -- if we think it, it is, and…… [Read More]
saw two houses: one in the suburbs and one in the center of town. he suburban house was less expensive than the one in town so there must be something wrong with it.
he fallacy present in this remark revolves around the notion that when something costs less, it's as a result of some sort of flaw. While there is an expression "you get what you pay for" this expression is not always absolute. Many times there is a host of reasons why something might cost less than something else, and many of these reasons will have nothing to do with flaws or something being "wrong" with the house. For instance, the house might be priced less because it is further a way from the center of town, or might have an undesirable view or might be on a street where some tragic act of violence occurred. Regardless, none of…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
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."
In…… [Read More]
Free ill" Exist and if so, to hat Extent does it Exist?
The concept of "Free ill" has been debated by many philosophers over a period of centuries, not only regarding its very existence but also regarding its elements, the extent to which it may or may not exist and its moral implications. Our assigned readings have merely touched on debates that have raged and will probably continue to rage as long as human beings contemplate the "truths" about being. Though an exhaustive review of differing philosophical treatments of "Free ill" would probably take hundreds of pages, this work will briefly examine several major philosophies of "Free ill" and some of their most notable proponents. In reviewing these sources and differing approaches to "Free ill," we can see that philosophers approach the concept of "Free ill" with differing definitions, examining disparate aspects and resulting in somewhat different implications for Morality.…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
self" is difficult to define but usually involves the inner life of the individual, the psychological dimension of human existence as opposed to the outward, physical form. The self is conceived as a creature of consciousness, a mind capable of thought and able to engage in deliberate action. A self is capable of self-consciousness, which means it recognizes its own ability to think and to contain first-person thoughts. The question is, however, is there a Self or not, and if there is, what is its nature? This has been argued in philosophy since the time of the Greeks and has been answered differently by philosophers, religious leaders, and psychologists at different times in history. Leslie Stevenson notes that the "question of the ultimate nature of such mental states is a philosophical problem which is left open by our everyday language about them" (Stevenson 74). This common language is often challenged…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
and, through the scientific study of modern, cognitive science, the idea that 'I' am doing the thinking in a way that is separate from my body and that this can be rationally deducted, simply by thinking and without scientific experimentation would be confounded.
However, those using empiricism as their main philosophical view of the world have also been able to twist the empiricism to use science's supposed rationalism and objectivity to justify tyranny of 'the best,' as in the case of eugenics, and the notion of 'survival of the fittest,' which suggests that the 'best' (morally, racially, and ethically) thrive and should be allowed to triumph over the 'weak.' In reality, Darwin's actual theory merely supports the idea that those best suited to an environment survive, not that survivors are innately better or superior creatures (a mutated moth that can blend in with a coal-blackened environment is not 'better' than…… [Read More]
Seeking to strip his conception of knowledge to the bare minimum by removing all notions which can subject to reasonable doubt, Descartes differentiates between assumptions and true knowledge because, in his estimation, any perception based solely on sensory input is inevitably flawed, as the human sensory system is known to be fallible (Collingwood). By rejecting the role of assumptions in forming knowledge, Descartes devises perhaps the most well recognized philosophical postulations ever formed: Cogito ergo sum (I think, therefore I am).
Despite the revelations of Descartes' epistemological theories, it is clear that much of the modern human experience is based on widely held assumptions that have been collectively mistaken for knowledge. Cultural beliefs engrained over dozens of generations, religious doctrine issued through official edicts, and erroneous conclusions accepted at face value are examples of assumption usurping the place of empirical examination and logical reasoning. ith the advent of anonymously contributed…… [Read More]
in "Piaf," Pam Gems provides a view into the life of the great French singer and arguably the greatest singer of her generation -- Edith Piaf. (Fildier and Primack, 1981), the slices that the playwright provides, more than adequately trace her life. Edith was born a waif on the streets of Paris (literally under a lamp-post). Abandoned by her parents -- a drunken street singer for a mother and a circus acrobat father -- Edith learns to fend for herself from the very beginning. As a natural consequence of her surroundings, she makes the acquaintance of several ne'er do wells. She rises above the lifestyles of the girls she grows up with who prostitute themselves for a living in the hope that they will eventually meet a benefactor with whom they can settle. Edith has a talent for singing and she indulges this interest by singing loudly in the streets.…… [Read More]
As such, every human being has 70,000 pairs of these genes or instructions that tell the body what to be and how to behave. They have garnered the name "designer" not so much as to pre-selection but more toward blueprint. Although biotechnological development might well be able to "design" a fetus to have all the characteristics that parents want in a child, the more scientific approach is one of natural development in the genes patterning. Not with standing naturalism there are efforts underway to alter some of the 70,000 pairs of genes to cure diseases and prevent defective inherited characteristics. Wherein the debate turns philosophical, ethical, and righteous is on an entire different level however. When reality is present that babies can be genetically engineered to be smarter, better looking, more athletic, and happier the face of human evolution will have changed forever. The lingering question facing citizenry is how…… [Read More]
Mind/ody Dualism: Compare/contrast Cartesian Rationalism and at least one version of Empiricism.
Descartes, who was fascinated with mathematical qualities of indubiability, certainty and clarity, considered philosophy as an antithesis of the said qualities since he perceived philosophy as a subject, which was based on shaky grounds. He then sought to provide philosophy with steady foundation through using math principles in his search for something that is clear and indubitable. He thought that such a foundation would offer a steady philosophical system on which all other philosophical truths would be anchored. So, he set on this difficult exercise, through systematically questioning/doubting all the "truths" that he thought he knew. Descartes thought that he needed to forget all the things that he held as his opinions, so as to later bring on other facts or opinions that would be better than his previous ones through rationally confirming everything…… [Read More]
When we ask ourselves what is knowledge (as we do when we are engaged in the process of philosophy) we are effectively asking what is our relationship with the world. V.S. amachandran - as is the norm for philosophers - asks the question about our relationship to the world by using what at first might seem to be a relatively trivial issue, or at least one that very few of us shall ever actually have to worry about, which is the question of phantom limbs, the subject of both amachandran's interest and our own.
The desire to know and the desire to discover are essentially active, even aggressive actions taken on the part of consciousness to acquire pieces or aspects of the world. When we seek knowledge, we seek to take into our minds (and so to take into our bodies physically) something that exists in the world.…… [Read More]
Enlightenment on the French evolution
evolutionary changes in the leadership of 18th Century France did not occur overnight or with some sudden spark of defiance by citizens. The events and ideals which led to the French evolution were part of a gradual yet dramatic trend toward individualism, freedom, liberty, self-determination and self-reliance which had been evolving over years in Europe, and which would be called The Enlightenment. This paper examines and analyses the dynamics of The Enlightenment - and also, those individuals who contributed to the growth of The Enlightenment and to the ultimate demise of the Monarchy - in terms of what affect it had on the French evolution.
Introduction to the French evolution
When the legitimate question is raised as to what role, if any, The Enlightenment played in the French evolution, the best evidence from credible historic sources is that The Enlightenment did indeed play an important…… [Read More]