August 28, 2006
Start w/ Descartes- influential works, on geometry
Augustine- god made #’s, how important they were
Pathagoras- influence on Plato, Augustine
Plato big point- ideal objects which exist eternally, are better known than actual
existence, this is because we can’t completely grasp. Starting point for Descartes.
Rationalism- to become a key feature in early philosophy.
Aristotle gives us basis for scientific approach
Picture- Plato points up to the eternal #, Aristotle points outwards for experience
Atomists- that there are tiny little particles underneath everything—atoms
Explanations of physical things by the behaviors of their inner parts, the parts you can’t
Decisive break from ancients to moderns.
Skepticism resurfaces during the renaissance and different peeps take it in two ways.
Either pro-skept or anti-skept
This is not just within philosophy
Responses to the change- Phidaism- I know what I believe don’t confuse me w/ your
Descartes needs to find some place where people could come together and find truth.
Locke, Hume, Kant, and others.
Reading Group- Rousseau’s Dog-
August 30, 2006
Main concern Cosmopolis- the way modernism has been typically characterized.
Argued against the current philosophers interpretation of modernity.
Rorty- pg 12- Harvard Professor- decided that the only thing philosophy could do is make
sure you talk in correct sentences. You cant know things, its all relative. More or less
says all we can do is critique cultures, and all you can do is talk out of your own context,
we just need to make sure we are communicating.
Credits Descartes and Gaileo
Pg. 13- The unanimity… the problem w/ people building upon other’s research w/o going
back to the original texts themselves.
This problem was dealt w/ by Descartes and the rise of rationalism.
Toulman believes that Descartes life was important to understand his thought. The
western mindset says every discipline has its own sect, in universities the programs are
all separate, instead of eastern thoughts- where everything is pulled together.
Modernity emphasizes the individual.
The back and forth b/w Spinoza and Descartes and others is a build up of ideas, it is also
a way of seeing the skepticism that modernity brought about.
Kuhn- brings out how, you think of Newton as coming up w/ something, but when you
look at it, you find out that he was wrong, and then say this was wrong that was wrong.
Kuhn instead says that there is fluidity, a paradigm of information.
Toulmin- says that you can’t have Descartes and the other Modernity w/o previous events
pushing them into the thought processes.
Toulmin says we lose something w/ the rational process.