10 - Empiricism Characteristic of Descartes's philosophy...

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Empiricism Characteristic of Descartes's philosophy was the pivotal role played by God, who guarantees the reliability of our faculty of reason and who would be a deceiver if our strong inclination to believe in the existence of external things were wrong. A further role for God (not covered in the Meditations) is in science. High-level scientific principles are said to be based on God's attributes. For example, the claim that in the universe the quantity of motion is conserved is based on the immutability (unchanging character) of God. A problem with this top-down approach to scientific theorizing is that it can run into conflict with experience. In the case of the conservation law, it was soon recognized that it is empirically false. What is conserved is not quantity of motion, but quantity of directed motion. This fact sank Descartes's clever attempt to inject mind into the physical world by having it merely deflect motions in the brain: this would violate the correct conservation law. In contrast to the top-down approach, a bottom-up or inductive approach was championed by English philosophers. The approach consists of three steps:
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10 - Empiricism Characteristic of Descartes's philosophy...

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