Descartes' Discours de la Méthode: Première Partie

  • Created by: CaraPW
  • Created on: 18-04-21 11:25
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  • Descartes Part 1
    • Le bon sens
      • Le bon sens - capacity to distinguish true from false (raison)
      • Everyone has this capacity, problem is that we think we can do it so well we don't take the time to develop it
      •    « Le bon sens est la chose du monde la mieux partagée : car chacun pense en être si bien pourvu, que ceux même qui sont les plus difficiles à contenter en toute autre chose, n’ont point coutume d’en désirer plus qu’ils en ont. »
      • We also don't apply bon sens but exist with a multitude of opinions because we never examine with method nor make effort to define things
    • Seneca's path and the development of méthode
      • To reflect without method is like rushing and constantly changing direction - you get nowhere
      • Metaphor corresponds to greek etymology of methode - methodos, which includes hodos, meaning path
      • Methode does not signify that he is cleverer than other, he's just had the chance to reflect on his past and create a path of knowledge leading to truth
      • In going on this path, he changed himself, developing an acute conscience for human error, distrusting himself in the same way he did others to avoid presumption
      • Doesn't pretend that the method will be universal, he writes for the purpose of receiving public feedback, and hopes it will be useful to a minority
    • Life anecdotes
      • Development of the method is inextricably linked to his life
      • The problem with his academic life was that he'd wasted time educating and developing himself non-usefully
      • reading widely made him realise the extent of his own ignorance
      • shows he got disappointed with Jesuit grand école, critices its teachings and pretends to find advantages, he thinks its way of teaching philosophy uniquely points to a vain glory
      • No doctrine or ideology allures him, calls alchemy, astrology and magic 'les mauvaises doctrines' because they consist fundamentally of pretending to know what we don't know
      • Believes we must examine everything, at least in a preventative manner
      • he reads all he can find but reading isn't beneficial in itself - it can be like a journey, and if we journey too much we become a stranger to reality - it is detrimental to judgement
    • Knowledge and schools of thought
      • Most important thing is not accumulating knowledge but putting thoughts in order - compares this to digestion
      • No kind of formal discipline necessary to have "pensées claires et intelligibles"
      • Has nothing against theology, thinks divine truth is beyond his intellectual powers
      • Only mathematics gives the example of a trustworthy method because of the certitude of the evidence of its reasons
      • Philosophical knowledge not fully trustworthy, all sciences founded on philosophy aren't either
      • Challenges authority of tradition, went to collect experience after finishing his studies and freed himseld from error by experiencing the diversity of morals
      • It is contact with reality that helps us evaluate the value of things - he has sufficiently studied this 'livre du monde', and now wants to move onto studying 'en soi-même' - himself


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