"I am a thinking thing"
At this point, Descartes now takes himself to be reasonably certain that he exists. But
he's not sure what kind of thing this "I" is, that he's sure exists. He writes:
But I do not yet have a sufficient understanding of what this "
Descartes' Second Meditations
The Cogito Argument
So Descartes' problem is this. How can he be sure that any of his beliefs are true?
Perhaps everything he perceives is really just an illusion, like in a dream or in The
Matrix. Or maybe God or an evil dem
To say that something is necessary is to say that it must be the case. When something
is not necessarily false, when it could have been the case, then we say that
it's possible. If something is neither necessarily true not necessari
The "Continuity of Nature" Argument for Materialism
Here's a use of Leibniz's Law to argue against dualism.
This argument begins by observing that nature is continuous in various ways. Contrast
the property of being bald to the property of having a soul:
Leibniz's Law: Legitimate Uses
Leibniz's Law says that if A and B are one and the same thing, then they have to have
all the same properties. If A and B have different properties, then they cannot be one
and the same thing. If we find some property that B
Leibniz's Law: Illegitimate Uses
Leibniz's Law is usually a good form of argument-so long as it's the same property
that the one object has and the other object lacks.
However, we have to be extremely careful when we're dealing with properties that
Descartes' First Meditations
Descartes notices that over the course of his life, he has occasionally accepted some
false beliefs, and their falsity has infected other beliefs that he based upon them. What
he wants to do is to sort through all his beliefs,
1. Recall that the dualist and the materialist disagree about whether our mental
properties are "independent of" how we're built physically, or whether the way
we are physically put together "wholly determines" what mental properties we
Let's look m
Descartes' Argument that He is Distinct from His Body
In the first paragraph of his Sixth Meditation, Descartes wrote:
I have never judged that something could not be made by [God] except on the
grounds that there would be a contradiction in my perceiving
1. I want to look at another kind of example where we can get metaphysical
impossibilities that aren't just the result of conceptual definitions.
a. To begin, we need to distinguish between claims about language and
claims about the world.
Suppose there a
Arguments from Privileged Access and Inverted Spectrums
Some of our mental states are conscious. There is some peculiar way it feels to be in
those mental states. There is no special way it feels to be 6 feet tall, on the other hand.
The statue is 6 feet