IB Philosophy Core: Descartes Meditation 1

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  • Created by: Milly
  • Created on: 25-04-13 19:35
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  • Descartes' First Meditation
    • Main points
      • Rationalist
        • Based on pure reason, not sense experience (a priori)
        • Initially reason only makes him certain of his mind, god and mathematics.
      • Foundationalist
        • Knowledge must be proved on foundations of certainty which are indubitable
          • Indubitable: undoubtable
        • Descartes seeks to challenge the truth of his beliefs
          • This is to free his mind of all assumptions
          • He is searching for true knowledge to find the reason for existence
        • He likens his beliefs to a house built on rotting foundations. If the foundations are crumbling, it could all come crashing down.
      • Uses skepticism as a method, though not a skeptic himself.
      • Scholastics
        • Philosophers who based knowledge on their theologian (religious) beliefs
      • Generalised doubt
        • He don't doubt every individual belief, but tries to doubts everything from certain categories.
        • Hyperbolic/global doubt
        • Apples in a barrel: if one apple is rotten all should be examined
        • Sense cannot be trusted as they are sometimes deceptive
          • Relying on senses may mean that the world around us is a dream
      • Evil demon
        • God would not decieve
        • Device to deploy Cartesian doubt
        • Senses cause us to make assumptions which are in reality illusions.
    • Objections
      • God would not decieve
        • There seems to be an implied assumption of God's omnibenevolence.
      • Global skepticism - quantifier shift fallacy
        • If only a few senses deceive us, is it logical to reject them all.
        • Response by Bernard Williams supporting Descartes
          • If you were walking in a wood and some fungi were poisonous, you would not try to eat any of the fungi.
      • Meaningless to doubt everything - can there be doubt when there is no certainty
        • Wittgenstein
      • Dreaming and consciousness
        • Can distinguish between being awake and asleep- asymmetry
          • Hobbes


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