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Pre & Meditations 1-2 Notes Descartes

Pre & Meditations 1-2 Notes Descartes - Descartes...

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1/30/11 Descartes Notes on: Letters of Dedication, Preface to the Reader, and Synopsis Letter of Dedication: -purpose: to state the goal of the meditations -God and soul -should be demonstrated by philosophy, not theology -must be proved by natural reason to convince unbelievers -few would prefer what is right over what is useful without fear of God/knowledge of afterlife -circular reasoning for faith in God -must believe in God because holy scriptures say so, and we must believe holy scriptures because they are given by God -since faith is gift from God, he can give grace to know he exists -theology proves God easier to know than some earthly creatures -so easy that unbelievers are blameworthy -scriptures seem to say that reasons for God can be drawn from one’s own mind -Descartes seeks to prove this -soul is similarly asserted to be unknown -faith alone holds contrary position, that soul does not die w/ body (Descartes wants to seek this as well) -many refuse to believe that God exists and that the mind and body are separate -up until now, no one can prove either -seeks to prove/demonstrate so plainly as can’t be refuted (no greater task in philosophy than to demonstrate arguments) -others urged him to use his method that had proved successful -chooses chief/primary arguments to prove more strongly as truths/demonstrations -his assertions are as certain as geometry -he is concerned that some will not be able to adequately perceive them (b/c they are lengthy and demand mind free of prejudices and that can disassociate itself from the senses) -geometry minded people: most side with the false (wanting to show their understanding of it) rather than the side of denying the true -not true for philosophy -in philosophy: everything can be defended from either side so few seek the truth but rather arrogantly challenge the best arguments and claim profundity -wants these theologians of Paris’ ‘patronage:’ -they will critique the errors in the work -add what is missing, perfect what needs perfecting, discuss what needs discussing -publicly attest that these arguments are the best -then all misconceptions in men’s minds of these concepts will be erased -the truth of these arguments will make them agree with their assertion -atheists will bend under their authority and acquiesce -goal of meditations: no one will again doubt existence of God or separation of mind/soul and body
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Preface to the Reader: -previous work has touched on issues of God and human mind -with purpose not of treating them precisely but only to offer sample and learn from readers’ opinions how they should be treated in future -thought issues so important, necessitated more than one review/treatment -his chosen path not intended to be example for others to take (why it was a short treatment, longer would lead to others following suit) -only two worthy objections to his treatment of these issues (both of which will be responded to in more length later) -first objection = from mind being a thinking thing, does not follow that it’s
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