Descartes-Franks - Descartes The father of modern...

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Descartes The father of modern philosophy: Reasons for and against this idea I think I might have mentioned to you that Descartes is often referred to as the father of modern philosophy, indicating that he inaugurates a new way of doing philosophy. I dispute this. I think there is good reason for IDing him as the father of modern philosophy, but I think that M is a better choice. However, there is nothing in M that deals with theory of knowledge. He deals more with political philosophy and turns away from the PM’s in this way. This is an identifying characteristic of modern philosophy IE turning away from what came before. Yet, M doesn’t concern himself with theory of knowledge while D does. M had the same concern with laying down new foundations (PM’s were too idealistic). We see a return for this theme of laying down new foundations in D. Thus, we will pay some attention to why D has been thought of as the father of modern philosophy (theme). Background information about Descartes: D lived in 1596-1650. By around 1648, D was the most celebrated philosopher in Europe. His books were read and discussed by Queen Christina. She invited him to come to the court of Sweden to be her tutor. Because D’s writings were so controversial, and he was living in an era in which people were persecuted for writing unorthodox tenets, he welcomed the idea. The lessons that he gave began in January. This was an especially cold winter, and he was required to give her lessons at 5:00 AM. His health became frail and then caught pneumonia and died. This work was published in 1637. He had a book ready to publish in 1632, but he decided not to publish it, because in 1632 Galileo published the Dialogues on the Two Chief Systems of the World. This book was an attack on Ptolemy. The two chief systems referred to Ptolemy’s Almagest which envisioned the earth as the center of the universe and the Galileo’s system. Ptolemy’s system held sway until it was replaced by Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo, who argued that the sun is at the center of the solar system, and that the earth orbits the sun. You can see what the new system of the world did. It displaced the earth as the center of the solar system, placed the earth in motion, and Galileo also discovers that there are more than 7 planets. The way he did this was pretty neat. For centuries, Jupiter could be seen by the naked eye. Around 1607, the telescope was invented, which revolutionized astronomy, because you could now see things that were not visible before. Galileo put his telescope on Jupiter and found many new objects on different days. He then realized that instead of seven planets, we had 11 or more planets. In these dialogues on the Two Chief Systems of the World, G had characters speak. One of the characters was Simplicious who was the stupid guy defending the old world view of Ptolemy. The way he argued was the hallmark of how the pope argued (Urban the 8 th ). What was he thinking? Maybe he had a death wish. When the book came into the hands of the
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This note was uploaded on 07/27/2011 for the course PHIL 1302 taught by Professor Som during the Spring '11 term at St. Thomas Aquinas College.

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Descartes-Franks - Descartes The father of modern...

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