Lecture on Descartes 2/16/09 -First meditation: What can be called into doubt? -B 1596 in France, meditations written in early 1640s -Dark Ages: Break in intellectual tradition. Knowledge disappears in Europe. Around the 900s, Aristotle and Plato works are reintroduced, Christianity is strong at this point and Plato is mostly disregarded while Aristotle is reconciled with Christianity. -This forms scholasticism: existence of God and the distinction of the human body and soul -The worldview is that earth is in the center of the solar system -Descartes is educated in scholasticism -Galileo is banned by the church in the 1500s, but Copernicus is not -Wrote six meditations that were meant to be read and prove the existence of God -Falsehoods= Aristotelian scholastics?2000 years of human intellectual endeavor is gone -Descartes wants to stabilize the foundations in the sciences (knowledge of the external world) so that the same thing doesn?t happen again -The task of the First Meditation is to demolish his opinions. The meditation here is not the same as in Buddhism. The goal here in understanding, not unraveling. He holds on to anything until it can be proven false. Descartes Method of Doubt -Any doubt, throw it out -Wants all false opinions gone and is willing to lose a few true ones in the process -Wants to examine foundations/sources of opinions. If the source holds doubt, throw it out. -Senses deceive and you can?t trust anything that has deceived you once, so anything perceived by the senses gets thrown out. Ex: realistic dreams
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