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Week 2 Class 1: Descartes' Meditations on First Philosopy

by: Amadea Ng

Week 2 Class 1: Descartes' Meditations on First Philosopy RELS 0052

Marketplace > Religious Studies > RELS 0052 > Week 2 Class 1 Descartes Meditations on First Philosopy
Amadea Ng


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About this Document

Breakdown of each paragraph and notes on what the professor said.
Love and Reason
Anna F. Bialek
Class Notes
Philosopy, religion, descartes, Meditation
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Amadea Ng on Tuesday February 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to RELS 0052 at a university taught by Anna F. Bialek in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 14 views.


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Date Created: 02/02/16
RELS0052 – Love and Reason Descartes’, “Meditation 1: Concerning Those Things Which Can Be Called Into Doubt” (Week 2, Class 1) (1)In the world, there are things that are true and false. If a foundation is built upon the false, it is dubious, and needs to be demolished and built again. (2)Reasons states that agreement is to be withheld from opinions that are not ‘fully certain and indubitable’ and opinions that are openly false. a. Also, it is not acceptable to reject all opinions is any reason floats for doubting each one. b. Weak foundations will lead to spontaneous collapse of what is on to c. Assent – The expression of approval or agreement (3)We use our senses to determine what is true and false, but our senses often deceive us a. Acquiring ‘through’ and ‘from’ the senses is the difference between testimony from others and from our own experiences b. COUNTERS Aristotelian theory: That all knowledge is derived from experience (4)HOWEVER, our senses introduce us to real truths that cannot be doubted unless we have no minds. (5)Dreaming can pervert reality, but there is no certain criteria to know if we are truly asleep (6)The experiences we have in dreams are similar to the things we experience awake and are not simulated * a. Cogitation – Contemplation (7)Things arising from our contemplation and its extensions – “the figure of extended things” a. Corporeal – Relating to a person’s body, as opposed to their spirit (8)Theories dependent on several elements are dubious, but those founded on the simple and general are certain and indubitable a. Composite – Made up of several parts or elements b. Perspicuous – Clearly expressed and easily understood (9)God as “the most highly good” (10)Some deny God’s existence in order to reject that all other things are uncertain (11)Need to balance the weights of prejudices and no corrupt norms would derail one’s judgment to perceive accurately a. Focus should not be on action, but on the need to be aware of (12) The things around us are playful deceptions of our dreams, and we should not fear waking up to face the reality a. Credulity – a tendency to be too ready to believe that something is real or true Cambridge Companion: - Philosophy begins in doubt - Knowledge does not rest upon the senses - The Empiricist Principle - To detach the mind from the senses Rene Descartes: - Searching for ‘foundations of knowledge’ to replace church doctrine and decree o Begin with doubting with all things possible o Do not rely on a belief that turns out not to be true (contentful belief)  Whole argument will crumble if so  Rely on things known without a doubt - Uncertainty lies in Science, but not in the existence of God o Existence of God as the given o Cartesian Science - Forms of meditation (1640s) o Recommends spiritual discipline  Defines the problems in the soul and comes up with how to fix them  To understand one’s own condition in relation to God  To identify and control the destructive areas of the soul o Practiced reflection on a particular idea  So that it will reveal itself in its complexities and one’s own ignorance  Intellectual discipline o Intellectual discipline  Thinking in a way that will not let you get clouded by thoughts that can be unfounded  Authority derives from the doing and the accomplishment of the way of thinking - The First Meditation o Used of first person ‘I’  Not-Descarte: Following the protagonist’s thoughts, putting oneself’ in the shoes to become ‘the thinker’  Not a particular person: It is whoever’s mind can do these instructions o Relies on the assumption that almost any human are capable of going through these thoughts  Capacity is innate  Found in Descartes’ dedication o Encourages active thinking  Wants us to argue with Descartes in order to convince ourselves o Does the Thinker know how it will all turn out?  Will taking away all of our believes lead to a better outcome? - Doubt/Skepticism o West: Skeptical philosophers; Plato, Aristotle, Socrates o A means to control/satisfy the emotion that desires knowledge  Prevent it from governing our life  Prevent it from occupying us with anxiety  More of the desire to know everything  COUNTER: To calm oneself down is to let oneself know that oneself would not know anything at all  Exacerbating the anxiety of being unable to know everything will solve the desire to know (speculative philosophy) - Skepticism guides us towards what we should doubt - If one can trust their judgment o We will be confident in making it even if something changes which makes it not true  To then believe that the object has changed  And not create a crisis of my own judgment 1) We will doubt all things a. Doubting helps us find the objective truth (to reach a conclusion) b. Eventual result: To not have any further doubts c. One needs to doubt all things, especially material things (physical), in order to have no doubt 2) Doubt as method a. Function: Extracting doubt would make our arguments strong b. Reason why we can’t progress i. The inability to do the calculations to progress 1. “My time an energy is finite, so I should believe this is real so I can pursue the next activity in the day.” ii. The search for truth needs to be padded with the belief that certain things are legitimate, while others are worth questioning


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