Descartes - INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY STUDY GUIDE for...

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INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY STUDY GUIDE for DESCARTES STUMPF What was Descartes’ primary concern? [ Intellectual certainty]   Did he give up his Christian beliefs to develop his philosophy?  He remained a devout Catholic, but he said that he could not find a way to  understand the revelation of God. What traditional approaches to certainty did he eschew? [ Appeal to authority] On what did he base certainty instead? Only the truths that he could know through his own powers. How did he regard mathematics? As the best example of clear and precise thinking. On what two foundations did Descartes place knowledge? (p. 231) [ intuition  and deduction] How did he regard intuition versus sense perception?  Intuition gave a sense of perfect clarity in the mind, senses and our  imaginations show us imperfect realities.  Explain Descartes’ insistence that we must reason from  truths  to conclusions,  not (as had been thought until that time) from  premises  to conclusions.  What  role does intuition play in this shift? [ hint: Descartes believed that we grasp  truth by intuition.    If we deal only with  premises  they may or may not be true,  especially if our acceptance of them is based only on authority.
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