3. Descartes, Extension and Dualism (Feb 20).pptx

3. Descartes, Extension and Dualism (Feb 20).pptx - Review...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–6. Sign up to view the full content.

Review The “First Meditation” follows Descartes’ train of thought from his skeptical attitude towards sense certainty to the even more radical thought experiment of doubting concepts that we normally consider to be universally true, such as that 2+3=5 or that a square has four equal sides. We are left, by the end of the first meditation, with the disturbing thought that nothing is for certain or true. At this moment in the text, when it seems that his inquiry into first principles has utterly failed to reveal anything stable at all, Descartes turns, surprisingly, to the act of thinking and concludes that there is no way to doubt the act of doubting. His point is that you have to have already affirmed the existence of thought to be able to call thought into question. Descartes concludes from this that the existence of thought is indubitable. Our task for today will be to venture further with Descartes, to analyze his argument for the existence of God, his claim that there are two substances, not only “thought” but also “extension,” and to look at his claims about mind-body dualism.
Image of page 1

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

Review: Discussion Question Before we turn to Descartes’ claims about God and external things, let’s review our initial discussion from last week: Why does Descartes say that we are unable to doubt the act of thinking? What does he mean when he concludes, “I think, therefore I am?” What makes the act of thinking different from all of the other elements of reality that Descartes calls into question (such as social customs, sensation, universal concepts, mathematical principles, etc.)?
Image of page 2
What else does Descartes conclude other than “I think, therefore I am”? Descartes outlines a second investigation when he asks if there is anything else besides “I think, therefore I am,” which we can establish with certainty. He writes: “If the objective reality of any of my ideas turns out to be so great that I am sure the same reality does not reside in me, either formally or eminently, and hence that I myself cannot be its cause, it will necessarily follow that I am not alone in the world, but that some other thing which is the cause of this idea also exists. But if no such idea is to be found in me, I shall have no argument to convince me of the existence of anything apart from myself. For despite a most careful and comprehensive survey, this is the only argument I have so far been able to find.”
Image of page 3

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

Some Questions In the “First Meditation,” Descartes went so far as to question whether God exists at all. He even suggests that God could be an evil demon manipulating all of reality. Why does he then realize with certainty both that God exists and that God does not deceive us? What argument does he offer for the existence of God? And how does the existence of God infer the existence of the external world?
Image of page 4
The steps of Descartes’ argument for the existence of God (external existence).
Image of page 5

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

Image of page 6
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern