Hellenistic Philosophy PHI 143
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Nietzsche G J Mattey Winter 2008 Philosophy 151 Nietzsche s Literary Output 0 Nietzsche was trained in classical philology or what we would now call clas sics 0 His rst published work The Birth of Tragedy 1872 attempted to explain Greek art and more generally Greek culture in a way that gives insight into the state of German culture 0 His 1878 book Human AllTooHuman initiated a steady stream of books that were at once philosophical psychological historical and cultural in their con tent These works were written in several literary forms including essays aphorisms and poetry 0 In 1901 his sister published as The Will to Power a collection of his notes from 1883 to 18 8 8 0 She published in 1908 his autobiography Ecce Homo Nietzsche and Christianity 0 Like Marx and Schopenauer Nietzsche rejected Christianity 0 Although his views on Christianity appear here and there throughout his philo sophical works they are systematically developed in The AntiChrist which was published in 1895 after he had become insane Nietzsche s criticisms of Christianity were not directed at Jesus but rather at the religion created by his followers In truth there was only one Christian and he died on the cross The Anti Christ Section 39 0 Nietzsche viewed Christianity as a sociocultural phenomenon 0 His chief criticism was that it has a debilitating effect on the people who are under its sway The Good and the Bad 0 The opening sections of The AntiChrist develop Nietzsche s own point of view from which he criticized Christianity 0 The main thesis is that the central ethical categories of good and bad must be understood in terms of their relation to power a central Nietzschean category 0 The good for man is what heightens his powers 0 The bad for man is what has its origin in weakness 0 Happiness is directly tied to goodness Happiness is the feeling that power is growing is overcoming resistance 0 Thus happiness is not to be found in contentedness peace or moraline virtue o The central problem with Christianity is that it promotes the bad through its pity for failures and for the weak The Higher Type and the Sick Human Animal 0 One of the most characteristic of Nietzsche s doctrines is that some humans are higher types while nearly everyone is a member of the herd o The goal of humans ought to be to create conditions which promote the appear ance of higher types 0 The higher type would be worthier of life and more certain of a future 0 In the past instances of the higher type have appeared often on the scene but only accidentally and not as the result of conditions promoting their appearance 0 These higher types have been dreaded by the masses 0 The product of this dread was the promotion of a lower type the sick human animal 0 This domesticated beast is the Christian The Overman o The higher type that sometimes accidentally appears is in relation to the whole of humanity an overman bermensch o The appearance of the overman is possible in all ages 0 In some cases there have been groups of overmen whole families tribes or people 0 But modeni society does not promote the development of these stronger groups o The modem notion of progress is a false idea in that it leads away from what should be the goal which is to create conditions favorable to the overman 0 Indeed Europeans of the Renaissance 300 years earlier was vastly greater in value than the Europeans of the late nineteenth century The Strong Spirit as Evil 0 Christianity has waged a deadly war against the overman o The villi ed moral quality evil is precisely the quality of the overman o The basic instincts of those strong in spirit are regarded as reprehensible and the spirited person himself is called a reprobate 0 Conversely whatever opposes the instinct of the overman is made into an ideal of moral virtue 0 Thus the strong spirits are fooled into thinking that their instincts are sinful and erroneous o The most pitiful example is Blaise Pascal who believed his reason was cor rupted by original sin when it was really conupted by his Christianity Christian Corruption as Decedance o The classi cation of the in uence of Christianity as conuption is not intended to be a moral condemnation 0 Nietzsche claims that his description of the conuption of humanity is moraline free 0 Indeed he has his strongest experience of this corruption in those who most aspire to be virtuous or godly o The conuption by Christianity is a tendency to decay decadence o It occurs when people lose their instincts toward growth and power to their own disadvantage Where the will to power is lacking there is decline 0 The values of Christianity are thus values of decadence which are nihilistic The Christian Virtue of Pity o The alleged source of all virtues in Christianity is pity 0 Rather than enhancing our instincts toward power pity depresses them 0 Pity is directed at those who suffer but instead of alleviating suffering pity spreads it further 0 A more important consideration is that pity crosses the law of development which is the law of selection 0 It gives life a gloomy aspect by preserving the weak who are really ripe for destruction 0 Pity is a nihilistic value because it turns against the lifeaf rming will to power 0 It hides the fact that it is directed at nothingness by calling it the beyond God Nirvana etc How to Overcome Pity o Schopenhauer was hostile to life and so he quite consistently made pity a virtue o The modern literary and artistic trends throughout Europe from Wagner to Tol stoy are symptomatic of a pathological and dangerous accumulation of pity o Aristotle on the other hand took pity to be dangerous something to be purged through tragedy o The remedy is to look at pity like a sore that must be punctured and made to burst o It is up to the philosophers to wield the knife and become physicians to the unhealthy modern society whose most unhealthy component is Christian pity Christ and Christianity 0 The intervening sections of The Anti Christ develop the criticism of Christianity 0 Much of it involves a theory of Nietzsche s that the message of the historical Jesus was distorted by his followers led by Saint Paul after his death 0 The true message of Jesus was to nd happiness in one s own heart 0 But his death led his followers to seek revenge by making him into a God and making themselves into God s agents 0 They succeeded in destroying the noble GrecoRoman culture as well as the Islamic and Renaissance cultures 0 In each case the noble value of lifeaf rmation was turned into evil and re placed by a cult of weakness The Case Against Christianity 0 The nal section of The Anti Christ contains a condemnation of Christianity as being the greatest conceivable corruption 0 It has inverted all values turning everything that is lifeaf rming into something to be reviled 0 Christianity claims to be humanitarian and to alleviate the distress of life 0 But instead it perpetuates distress It convinces everyone that they are sinners It promotes ressentiment through the falsehood that everyone is equal in the eyes of God 0 Far from being humanitarian Christianity violates humanity by opposing its best instincts 0 Christianity is parasitic in that its only aim is to drain the life out of humanity o The only way to overcome it is to revaluate all values Twilight 0fthe Idols o The posthumouslypublished Twilight of the Idols consists of a number of sec tions which are arranged in no apparent order 0 Its name is a pun on the name of Wagner s opera Twilight of the Gods o A section entitled Maxims and Arrows consists of fortyfour aphorismsivery short and often witty comments themselves very loosly connected with one an other Other sections are in the form of short essays 0 Another section recounts the history of an error in six steps the nal one being the truth that Nietzsche thought he had discovered 0 Together they give as a fairly comprehensive picture of Nietzsche s mature thought Nietzsche s Portrait of Himself 0 In Maxims and Arrows we get some insight as to how Nietzsche viewed him self and his work 0 He described himself as a posthumous man someone who is not understood in his own time and in fact never understood His failure to be understood is the basis of his authority o The formula of his happiness is said to be A Yes a No a straight line a goal 0 Given that he has his own why of life it does not matter how he lives 0 He describes himself at times as a psychologist and states that to be successful as a psychologist he must tuni his eyes away from himself 0 He professes mistrust for anyone who would build a philosophical system stat ing that anyone with the will to create a system is lacking in integrity The Problem of Socrates o In The Problem of Socrates Nietzsche advances the thesis that the import of the teaching of Socrates has been misunderstood through the ages 0 Socrates advanced the cause of morality and rationality 0 His wisdom has been accepted through the ages by other sages o This consensus has been taken to be a sign of the truth of Socrates s teachings 0 But Nietzsche argues that the consensus has a quite different meaning 0 It is accounted for by the fact that the sages share a common psychological type with Socrates o The type is that of being sick and therefore hostile toward life against which they wield morality and rationality as weapons Placing a Value on Life 0 The judgment of the sages that life is no good was a necessary product of their psychological and physiological condition 0 Through his study of Greek tragedy Nietzsche had come to the conclusion that Socrates and Plato were symptoms of the degeneration of Greek culture types of decline 0 He generalized this observation to the later sages who were in agreement with them 0 His own view is that the value of life cannot be estimated Not by living people who have a stake in the outcome Not be the dead for they make no estimations o The fact that the sages considered the value of life to be a problem constitutes an objection to them 0 It shows that the very people who are revered for their wisdom are in fact not wise at all The Decadence of Socrates 0 Greek culture placed great value on beauty and Socrates was an ugly person 0 As such Socrates was already in opposition to Greek values 0 Indeed Socrates s ugliness suggests he was a criminal type which is consistent with his admission that he harbors the worst of vices 0 There are other indications of Socrates s decadence His overdeveloped logical faculty His sarcasm in debate His hallucinations of a god who was giving him instructions 0 Socrates s antiGreek decadence led to his equation reason 2 virtue happiness 0 This equation opposes all the instincts of the Greeks who had come before him especially the distance between the nobility and the base The Practice of Dialectic o Socrates was a practitioner of dialectic critically demanding reasons to justify any claim that was put forward 0 In preSocratic Greek culture the giving of reasons was considered bad manners because it implies dishonesty in what is said 0 The noble person gives commands and does not take seriously anyone who asks him for reason 0 It must be explained why Socrates was taken seriously 0 He resorted to dialectic which gives rise to mistrust and has only a temporary effect because that was the only weapon with which he could get revenge 0 He was able to turn the tables on the noblility he questioned leaving it to them to prove that they are not fools Why Socrates Was Taken Seriously 0 Since Socrates s practice of dialectic was repellant to his victims it remains to be explained why they allowed themselves to be rendered powerless by it 0 One reason is that he had invented a new kind of contest that appealed to the Greek taste for tests of skill o The deeper reason is that Greek culture was becoming degenerate like him with instincts running wild o Socrates offered a means of controlling those instinctsia way that allowed for selfmastery o In this way he offered a cure for the sickness the only way to avoid perishing was to become absurdly rational Thus rationality was made a virtue which brings happiness by supressing the dark appetites with a permanent daylight 0 But rationality is no cure being instead another form of decadence of disease Reason in Philosophy 0 The section entitled Reason in Philosophy contains an attack on the ratio nalism that characterizes most of Westeni philosophy 0 This rationalism traf cs in lifeless concepts and forever seeks the being that excludes becoming Unable to nd being it blames the senses for presenting a world of mere ap pearances o It also attempts to begin its investigations with the most abstract concepts which are considered higher and are more highly valued o This tendency shows up in the philosophy of the Greeks the Indians and the Christians Nietzsche criticizes these rationalist methods and advocates the primacy of ap pearances over being ConceptMummies o Philosophers are idiosyncratic in that they are opposed to anything temporal that involves becoming 0 They believe that they are showing respect for a subject when they treat it as something eternal 0 But in reality they are only draining the life out of whatever they dehistoricize turning living concepts into conceptmummies They search for being which they oppose absolutely to becoming but it eludes their grasp o Desparate for something to blame they charge the senses with being deceptive and hiding the true world 0 They particularly despise the the body that whose end the senses serve and which behaves as if it were real The Apparent and True Worlds 0 A philosopher who embraced the senses and becoming in the face of the tendency of rationalism is Heraclitus 0 He did think that the senses are deceptive but only because they present objects as being relatively permanent while all things in reality are in ux 0 Nietzsche claims against Heraclitus and the Eleatic defenders of being that the senses are not deceptive at all 0 Any claim to permanence substance thinghood etc in the world is based on an interpretation of what the senses present 0 The senses present the apparent world as it is with its becoming passing away and in general change 0 Nietzsche contends that real product of the deception of reason is the true world of which the apparent world is supposed to be a distortion Real Science and PseudoScience o The senses are magni cent instruments of observation The nose is more sensitive than a spectroscope yet it has not been taken seriously by philosophers 0 Science is fruitful only to the extent that it accepts the testimony of the senses extend their reach and think through them 0 Wouldbe sciences that disregard the senses falsify the world Metaphysics Theology Psychology Epistemology o The formal sciences of logic and mathematics do not deal with reality at all Logic is merely a system of conventions for using signs Mathematics is merely applied logic How the Philosophers Invented God 0 A second idiosyncrasy of philosophers confuses the last with the rst 0 The rationalist philosophers begin with the highest concepts when they would be at the end if they could be reached at all The good The true The perfect 0 Since being is static for these philosophers the highest concepts could not have emerged from the lower ones 0 Because they cannot come to be they must be treated as causes in themselves 0 Since these highest concepts must conform perfectly with one another they are all located in a single being the most real being God 0 The human race has paid dearly for this webspinning by the philosophers The In uence of Language on Our Thinking 0 Nietzsche diagnoses the cause of the rationalist bias in favor of thinghood to the origins of language 0 Language originated when psychology was in its most rudimentary form There is everywhere a doer and a doing The doer is the Ego and the cause is will 0 This initial notion of an ego is generalized to that of substance which is the origin of the concept thing 0 Philosophers later found that the categories of thinghood can be handled with security and so they made them a p ori since experience contradicts them 0 The nal result of the error was the claim that because we have reasons humans must belong in the divine realm of being 0 I am afraid we are not rid of God because we still have faith in grammar Summary of the Case Against Rationalism o The reasons that this world has been called apparent are in fact the reasons why that world is real while the existence of any other world cannot be demon strated o The so called true world is merely a moraloptical illusion and the criteria for its existence are in fact criteria for notbeing 10 o The only reason for favoring an otherworldly better life is as revenge against real life 0 The distinction between an apparent world and a true world is only a symbol of the decline of life 0 It may be thought that the artist s esteem for appearance over reality makes him decadent 0 But the appearance of the artist is just a selective and corrected duplication of the real world 0 The tragic artist in particular is Dionysian and says Yes to even the terrible in life The Origin and Demise of the True World 0 Nietzsche describes six steps from the embrace of the true world to its total rejection 0 The oldest form is the Platonic holding that the true world is his own world that of the virtuous man 0 The more subtle Christian form makes the true world only a promise for the virtuous o The Kantian twist was to make the true world unattainable but the thought of such a world a consolation o The positivist takes the true world to be unknown and therefore unconsoling o In its fth phase the concept of the true world is seen to be worthless and hence is rejected 0 The end of the error comes when the very distinction between a true and an apparen world is seen to be unsustainable With the true world we have also abolished the apparent one Morality as AntiNature o The section Morality as AntiNature summarizes Nietzsche s main positions regarding morality 0 He claims that morality is negative valuation of life in reaction to its decline 0 Orignally morality is an attempt to suppress the passions due to detrimental effects of being in uenced by them 0 Christianity tunis this into hatred of the passions as epitomized by the ascetics whose lives are devoted to dispassionate living 11 o Morality directed against the passions is antinatural because in the passions are found the natural instinct of life 0 Nietzsche calls himself an immoralist and describes a spiritualization of pas sions that would replace the established morality The War Against the Passions o The passions can be disastrous when they drag down their victim with the weight of stupidity o This led to a war against the passions themselves particularly within Christian ity If thy eye offend thee pluck it out J esus s Sermon on the Mount 0 But an attack on the passions which are the roots of life is a manifestation of hostility to life 0 This attack is needed only when the will is weak which is in tuni a form of degeneracy o The most extreme forms of hostility are not found in the impotent or even in the ascetics o It is found in the impossible ascetics those who are in dire need of becoming ascetics but are unable to do so The Spiritualization of Passion 0 At a time very much later than when they are disastrous the passions may be come spiritualized 0 Two kinds of spiritualizations are described Love which is the spiritualization of sensuality Hostility which is a profound appreciation of the value of having ene mies 0 Nietzsche does not describe the spiritualized passion of love but he does claim that it represents a great triumph over Christianity 0 He does describes in some detail hostility which is a value condemned by the moralists Every political institution needs enemies in order to build its own strength Intenially con ict is positive and spurs one toward a great life and away from the Christian peace of the soul Peace of the Soul 0 Although Nietzsche rejects the Christian ideal of peace of the soul as debili tating he allows it comes in many forms 0 He presents the list without further ado or prejudice but clearly some would be consistent with spiritualized passions as he understands them 0 Some apparently negative forms manifest defects in the passions The senile weakness of our will our cravings our vices Laziness persuaded by vanity to give itself moral airs 0 Others seem to describe spiritualized passions in their highest forms The state which follows a thorough satisfaction of our dominant passion the wellbeing of a rare repletion The expression of maturity and mastery in the midst of doing creating working and willing Natural and AntiNatural Morality o Naturalistic morality which is the only healthy kind prescribes actions that re move impediments to the ful llment of the instincts of life 0 Antinatural morality condemns all instincts of life whether overt or covert Nearly all moralities that have heretofore existed are antinatural 0 God is supposed to inspect the heart of every human being 0 Since the af rmation of the instincts of life are condemned God is the enemy of life 0 The kind of saint who would most delight God would be someone devoid of any lifeinstinct altogether 0 Life has come to an end where the kingdom of God begins The Value of Life 0 The condemnation of life by the living is a futile endeavor and is only symp tomatic of the life of the one who condemns o It is impossible for a living person to place an absolute value on life since this would require knowing life from within yet evaluating it from outside life 0 Nietzsche values life which means for him only that life itself inspires him to value life o The antinatural moralist also evaluates life from the standpoint of life 0 But his standpoint is one of decadence which inspires him to devalue life 0 Schopenhauer correctly understood morality as the negation of the will to life 0 This is the instinct of decadence which is a condemnation pronounced by the condemned Prescribing How to Live 0 The natural world contains a rich variety of ways of living 0 The antinatural moralists give a prescription of how one ought to live one s life 0 Even the most insigni cant person tells others that they ought to be different 0 Such a person is nothing more than a product of a causal chain and for him to command that others change their way of living is ridiculous o In fact for anyone to change themselves would require that everything be changed since all things are connected 0 The most consistent moralists would simply negate the world since this is what changing its course would entail o The immoralist is not negative but will understand comprehend and approve of the many ways of i e 0 Even the moralists have their useithey prepare the ground for the immoralists The Four Great Errors 0 The section entitled The Four Great Errors Nietzsche debunks four traditional doctrines regarding causality Confusing the effect for the cause Positing the mental as a cause Positing causes where there are none Positing the will as a free cause 0 He tries to show that these four errors lie at the basis of morality and religion 0 The essay ends with a short account of our doctrine the doctrine of we im moralists o This doctrine seeks to redeem the world by denying the existence of God The Error of Confusing Cause and Effect 0 The rst error is what Nietzsche calls the real corruption of reason 0 The error is that of mistaking the effect for the cause An example is a popular dietary regimen with little food intake that is sup posed to cause long life The proponent of the diet was predisposed to a long life because of his slow metabolism which caused him to eat little 0 Nietzsche states that there is no error more dangeous than this one o It is widespread both in ancient and modern times 0 It was originated by priests and originators of moral codes and is the basis of all religion and morality Behaving virtuously according to God s law is supposed to cause hap piness But those who are happy are predisposed to happiness because of their constitution which causes them to behave virtuously The True Nature of Moral Rules 0 The great original sin of reason is the injunction that one will be rewarded with happiness if and only if one obeys the rules of religion andor morality 0 An instance of Niezsche s revaluation of all values is the reversal of this for mu a o The wellturnedout human being is naturally happy and by necessity acts in the truly virtuous way that he does 0 The license and luxury that are condemned by religious and moral rules follow from the decadence of the people for whom the rules are made by the priests and moralists o The mistake made by the purveyors of morality is to condemn the decadent for being what they are 0 The bad is the outcome of degeneration while the good is the consequence of instinct 0 That morality is supposed to be dif cult is an objection to it The Error of a False Causality o The second error lies in the invention of a nonexistent inner causality 0 According to this error there are various candidates for the role of cause The will Motives Consciousness or the ego 0 People have always thought that they know what a cause is based on their alleged observation of their acts of willing as causes The causality of the will is taken to be given empirically o The antecedents of these acts of willing were said to be motives for which people are held to be responsible o The thoughts that make up the motives were held to be caused by the conscious ness spirit or ego subject This kind of cause is arrived at last and only as an afterbirth of the rst tag rom False Causes to a Fabricated World 0 None of the three alleged inner causes is a cause The will merely accompanies our actions Motives are also mere accompaniments of actions which more often hide their true cause than reveal them The ego has been exposed as being a mere ction 0 Since none of the three candidates for mental cause is in fact a cause there is no mental causality o In the creation of these false causes a false world of will or world of spirits has been created 0 For every deed a doer was invented to explain it 0 From the concept of ego is derived the concept of a thing which is also a fabrication So we can nd in things what we have put into them 0 From the concept of a thing we get the concepts of atom thing in itself and God The Error of Imaginary Causes W h It is often the case that in dreaming when a sensation occurs we invent a motive as a cause of that occurrence after the fact A faroff cannonshot is heard and we then ll in the time before it with a meaning to explain why the sensation occurred When awake we often invent imaginary causes to explain our feelings such as pressures tensions etc We only admit that we have had these feelings after we have invented a motive to explain them Memory aids in this process by recalling similar states and the causal interpreta tions placed on them We habitually come to accept the association between the states and their in vented causes This fact tends to hinder or even preclude the investigation of the real cause y We Invent Imaginary Causes uuuu Ttl fa for the invention of imaginary causes of our feelings Causal explanation eliminates any strangeness of the feeling by associating it with a familiar pattern The derivation from something known of a feeling of unknown origin relieves comforts and satis es us The feeling of pleasure we get from eliminating strangeness is taken to be a sign of the truth of the explanation This mode of explanation also allows us to block off the possibility of an unset tling strange cause of any unusual feeling After repeatedly giving a certain kind of cause one develops an explanatory system that becomes dominant in the sense that it precludes any other kind of cause Morality and Religion Are Based on Imaginary Causes Disagreeable feelings are explained through what is hostile to us Beings such as evil spirits or witches 7 Aspects of ourselves of which we disapprove such as sinfulnessf 0 These feelings are explained as being deserved punishment for things we should not have done Schopenhauer exposes the hostility to life of morality in generalizing this explanation every pain is just punishment for the fact that we are living human beings o Agreeable feelings are explained as effects of what is favorable to us Trust in God Consciousness of good deeds 0 But once again these explanations take the cause the feeling for the effect The Error of Free Will 0 We now know that free will is a foul arti ce of the theologians Its aim is to impart responsiblility for one s actions which can only be atoned through the priest o The search for responsibility generally is the result of wishing to judge and pun ish speci c actions 0 Thus the will was created by ancient priests go allow for themselves or God the right to punish 0 So that every act could be judged for its guilt every act had to have its origin located in consciousness Thus the error of free will is based on the rst three errors of causality o The modem immoralists are tying to cleanse the world of the concept of guilt o Naturally it is the priests and their concept of a moral worldorder that pose the greatest obstacle to this attempt to cure humanity of its sickness Humanity Has No Purpose 0 The philosophies of the past have tried to impart meaning to humanity by de scribing it as having been made to achieve some end 0 But there is nothing that gives humans the qualities they have Not God Not society Not ourselves as with Kant and perhaps Plato 0 There is no end for which humanity exists Not an ideal of humanity Not an ideal of happiness Not an ideal of morality o The very concept of an end is an invention 0 We are all necessarily connected parts of a whole whose value it is impossible to judge 0 To admit this fact is a great liberation and we redeem the world by denying God Oh the Genealogy of Morality 0 One of Nietzsche s most widelyread books is the 1887 On the Genealogy of Morality or ofMorals o The book consists of three parts each of which is selfcontained though fairly closely related with the others 0 The rst part Good and Evil Good and Bad attempts to document an inversion from noble values into Christian values 0 The second part Guilt B ad Conscience and Related Matters tries to show how religion originated through the invention of guilt as a form of selftorment o The third part What Do Aescetic ldeals Mean purports to explain how hu manity which suffers naturally and apparently for no reason adopts suffering itself as the reason for its existence The English Psychologists 0 Nietzsche begins by considering the case of the English psychologists who attempt to explain human behavior through such mechanisms as principles of association 0 It would be an offense to human pride if all that is responsible for our mental life is so mechanical 0 Thus it is interesting to speculate as to what drives these psychologists to treat the human being in this way A mean instinct to belittle humanity The pessimistic gloominess of disillusioned idealists A tuni away from Plato and Christianity A taste for the strange and paradoxical 0 Perhaps it is one of these reasons or a bit of all of them 0 Whatever the reason Nietzsche holds out the hope that they are brave gener ous and proud animals who hold out the hope of leaniing the truth however distasteful it tunis out to be The Unhistorical Deduction of the Concept of Good 0 For all their good spirits the English psychologists failed in their attempt to understand the concept of good 0 They gave an historical explanation of the origin of the concept 0 Originally the nonegoistic acts of people are praised and called good by their recipients because they found them to be useful to themselves 0 Then the origin of the praise was forgotten and it became simply routine to praise nonegoistic acts That which is merely useful to the recipient is erroneously called good in itself 0 The results of the English psychologists are a devaluation of the proudest values of humanity 0 But they are essentially unhistorical because they re ect the idiosyncratic cat egories of the psychologists utility forgetting routine and error The Origin of Good and Bad 0 The error of the English psychologists lies in locating the source of the concept good in the sentiments of the recipients of actions 0 Instead its origin lies in the valuation given by the noble the mighty the high placed and the highminded to their own actions 0 A good action is one that is rstrate in contrast to everything lowly low minded common and plebean o A bad action is one undertaken out of baseness o This contrast between the actions of the nobles and that of the base depends on the pathos of distance the feeling of superiority of the higher over the lower 0 There is no element of utility here as the noble values spring from their passions rather from any cool calculation 0 Nor is there any reason to call good with actions that are not undertaken ego istically as the herd would have it Goodness and Utility 0 The rst mistake of the English psychologists was to misunderstand the origin of the concept of good in utility 0 Their second mistake was internal to their theory that goodness was taken to be an intrinsic value because the usefulness of good actions was forgotten o Surely if the actions were so useful their utility should never be forgotten o A more plausible view was taken by Herbert Spencer 0 He also equates goodness with utility but he claims in addition that this associ ation is never forgotten o It is because the association is made universally that goodness is thought to be an intrinsic value 0 Although Spencer s view is wrong it is at least in itself rational and psycholog ically tenable as an explanation The Etymology of Good and Bad 0 From the point of view of etymology the study of the origins of words one can obtain an essential insight into the genealogy of morality itself 0 In a number of different languages the word good developed to refer to features of nobility or aristocracy Spiritually highminded Spiritually privileged o This development runs parallel to that of the word bad which refers to features of the base Common Low 0 In German the word bad schlecht is the same as simple schlicht and is merely descriptive of someone as common in contrast to the nobility o This development has not been noticed due to the destructive prejudice of democ racy in modern times The Language of Nobility 0 Further etymological investigation yields more information about the attitude of the nobility 0 Originally the noble referred to themselves in a way that revealed their superi ority in power The mighty The commanders 0 They later used words that showed that thought of themselves as true or real as compared to the deceitful comman man 0 Linguistic usage also associated the nobility with light color blonde and base ness with dark color 0 This corresponds to the the lightcolored skin and hair of the nobility and the darkcolored skin and hair of their subjects 0 The emerging strength of the plebean dark people coincides with the rise of modern democracy which may be a counterattack against the nobility Priestly Aristocracies 0 When the clerical caste is the highest caste they appropriate the word pure and detach good from social standing 0 Originally purity was a matter of simple hygiene but in the hands of the priestly aristocracy it is transformed into an unhealthy brooding and emotional explo siveness o The metaphysics of the clergy nds purity by repudiating the senses 0 Its discontent is to be cured by God which is the epitomy of purity pure nothingness o This made the passions dangerous which in turn made the human being into an interesting animal The human soul became deep The human soul became evil for the rst time The SlaveRevolt in Morality 0 When the priestly caste splits off from the aristocratic there exists potential for con ict 0 The priests are physically powerless but they are the most dangerous opponent because they become great haters o The priestly haters develop intellect as their weapon which keeps human history from being far too stupid a thing 0 The Jewish priesthood were able to get their revenge against the powerful by inverting their values 0 Wealth nobility and power are tunied into evil and only the poor lowly and powerless are good 0 This inversion constituted the slaverevolt in the history of morality o The revolt remains successful and has been forgotten only because of its success The Emergence of Christianity 0 From the hatred and revenge of the Jewish priesthood grew love which could only have come from hatred 0 Love is not the negation of hatred but rather is its culmination o The message of love preached by Jesus was an af rmation of the inverted values glorifying the base and villifying the noble o By denouncing him the Jews made Jesus was the bait to draw their enemies into accepting their values 0 The creation of the bait was an act of great ingenuity which produced irresistible lures The power of the symbol of the holy cross The horrible paradox of God on the cross The cruel execution of God for the salvation of mankind A FreeThinker s Epilogue 0 Nietzsche imagines a response by a contemporary freethinker whom he char acterizes as an honest animal i i i and moreover a democrat o The target of the freethinker is the church rather than the inversion of values that was originally brought about by the priestly caste The values that were overthrown are not noble and it is best that they be over thrown on behalf of the people 0 The people have been saved from their former masters by the priestly poison which now does its work more slowly and discreetly At this point in time the heavyhanded church stand as an impediment to this leveling process because it slows it down by alienating a more tender intellect i i i a truly modeni taste The Man of Nobility and the Man of Ressentiment o The values of the noble man and the man of ressentiment work in opposite ways 0 The values of the noble are positive an af rmation of what he is o The values of the man of ressentiment are negative a condemnation of what someone else the noble is o The noble looks at those below him as merely unhappy and at his enemies as worthy of respect which is a bridge to love 0 The man of ressentiment feels the might of those above him and reacts by declar ing them evil 0 Any cleverness on the part of the noble is subordinate to his power and thrust of his instincts o The man of ressentiment regards cleveniess as a condition of the rst rank The Taming of Humanity 0 There is a fundamental tension between the nobility and the conditions under which they are restrained 0 Like the lion the blonde beast they must burst out of their con nement and embark on a bloody rampage o The noble races Roman Arabian Germanic Japanese nobility Homeric heroes Scandinavian Vikings are viewed by their victims as the barbarians o The meaning of culture is to tame the beast so that it becomes civilized 0 Modern man is no more than a teeming mass of worms who is not to be feared but rather viewed with disgust 0 And yet tamed modeni man thinks of himself as the higher man who is the pinnacle of history Is There Hope for Mankind 0 Nietzsche nds absolutely intolerable the situation that something failed comes near me 0 Everything else no matter what the hardship can be borne and the greatest dif culties set us up for new triumphs 0 He looks for a glimpse of a man whojusti es himself This person would be something perfect completely nished happy pow erful triumphant which still leaves something to fear 24 0 But what we see instead as the result of the levelling process is a sight which makes us grow tired o In losing our fear of man we lose our love for him 0 Man becomes better the more he declines 0 Our tiredness at the sight of man is modeni nihilism The Origin of Freedom and Responsibility 0 The attributes of strength and weakness are natural as are all the acts which are performed through strength and weakness 0 Common language deceives us into believing that behind every act is a doer which can be separated from the act There is an object a bolt of lightning which causes the ash of light to occur 0 This separation is applied to persons by the weak in the claim that it is the sub jec who is responsible for the act 0 Thus it is claimed that the strong are free not to act in the way that strong people naturally do 0 The weak then can claim that they have freely chosen weakness which is to say that they have chosen to be good How Ideals Are Fabricated o The ideals of the weak are created by the lie that regards weakness as an accom plishment 0 There are numerous ideals that are created in this way Passive impotence is called goodness Timid baseness is called humility Submission to those one hates is called obedience o The misery of the weak is considered patience and life is considered as a test that may eventually be paid back with happiness 0 The most masterful reversal is the conversion of hatred and revenge into jus tice 0 They live in faith waiting for the last judgment which is the coming of their kingdom called the kingdom of God The Kingdom of God 0 The kingdom of God for which the believers wait in patience requires an eter nal life 0 The bliss to be had in this Paradise is born of hatred 0 Nietzsche parodies Dante s inscription over the gates of hell Eternal love cre ated me as well as an inscription over the gates of heaven Eternal hate created me as well 0 He then quotes Thomas Aquinas who comments that the pleasures of heaven will be enhanced by the witnessing of the tortures of the damned 0 He gives a very extensive quotation from Tertullian with the same theme The philosophers who have taught that there is no soul will be burned along with the students they persuaded Rome versus Jerusalem o The titanic battle between good and bad and good and evil as opposing value has not yet ended though the side of good and evil is dominant o The battle is symbolized by struggle between the Romans and the Jews The Romans were a noble people stronger and nobler than anybody hith erto who had lived or been dreamt of on earth The Jews were priestly steeped in ressentiment and possessing an unpar allled genius for popular morality o In Rome today one bows to a Christian priest o The values of classical Rome were revived brie y during the Renaissance only to be crushed by the Reformation led by the plebean English and Germans 0 Yet in recent times Napoleon has appeared as the embodiment of noble values The Road Ahead 0 Nietzsche concludes by asking rhetorically whether the struggle is over or whether it will have to be carried out more violently in the future 0 He expresses his conviction that the struggle to get beyond good and evil should be desired and willed with all of one s strength 0 Returning to the original theme of the essay he advocates the creation of a prize essay What signposts does linguistics especially the study of etymology give to the history of the evolution of moral concepts 0 He then notes that not only philosophers and linguists but also physiologists and physicians should conceni themselves With the evolution of moral concepts 0 They can reveal the origin of values and in particular can show how What is useful for a people does not coincide With What would further the development of a higher type Lecture Notes on Meditation Four G J Mattey November 5 2008 The Synopsis states that there are two results of Meditation Four M4 a proof that everything that we clearly and distinctly perceive is true and and explanation of what the nature of falsity consists in AT VII 15 The need for these two results is twofold 1 to confirm what has gone before and 2 to make intelligible what is to come later AT VII 15 CSM II 11 Thus M4 is a bridge between the earlier and later Meditations One of the things that has gone before is the statement in M3 that I seem to be able to lay it down as a general rule that whatever I perceive very clearly and distinctly is true AT VII 35 The Synopsis indicates that this guarded language can be replaced with a knowledge claim based on a proof In the balance of the paragraph of the Synopsis describing M4 Descartes notes that his account of error is not an account of sin ie the error which is committed in pursuing good and evil Instead it deals only with the error that occurs in distinguishing truth from falsehood AT VII 15 CSM II 11 Finally we are told that the only target in M3 is speculative truths which are known solely by means of the natural light and not matters pertaining to faith or the conduct of life AT VII 15 CSM II 11 This clause was added after Descartes had considered an objection raised by Arnauld in the Fourth Objections at AT V11216 CSM 11 151152 The Meditation begins with a good summary of the arguments of the Second and Third Meditations Descartes has succeeded in turning his mind away from the senses which has enabled him to turn it toward purely intellectual objects He has an idea of his own mind which is much more distinct than the ideas he have of corporeal things end of M2 He has an idea of God which results from the contemplation of his own incompleteness and imperfection M3 He then concludes that God exists which he believes is the most evident truth that can be known to the human intellect Finally it is known that God is no deceiver since God is perfect and deception is an imperfection The will to deceive is undoubtedly evidence of malice or weakness and so cannot apply to God AT VII 53 CSM II 37 It may seem that the ability to deceive is evidence of power but this is the wrong conclusion to draw Although M4 is entitled Truth and Falsity it really should have borne the title Error for human error is the subject of the rest of the Meditation Indeed Descartes does not directly discuss the nature of truth and falsity In a letter to Mersenne of October 16 1639 Descartes states that it is useless to try to explain what truth is to someone who does not understand it It seems a notion so transcendentally clear that nobody can be ignorant of it AT II 597 CSM III 139 In the Fifth Replies Descartes describes falsity as merely a privation of truth AT VII 378 CSM II 260 In M4 Descartes treats of a number of subjects 0 The nature of error 0 The cause of error 0 How to avoid error G J Mattey s Lecture Notes on Descartes s Fourth Meditation 1 o How to reconcile human error with the perfection of God Descartes begins by noting that he knows by experience that he has a faculty of judgment It seems that by faculty here Descartes means simply that he has the ability or capacity to make judgments As will be seen judging involves more than one faculty of the mind Since he has proved in M3 that he and all of his attributes have been created by God it follows that God is the cause of his faculty of judgment Experience also teaches him that he is subject to countless errors AT VII 54 CSM H 38 The fact that he is subject to error seems to create a problem for Descartes Since his faculty of judgment is created by God and his judgment sometimes goes astray it might seem that God is in some way responsible for his erroneous ways However since God is no deceiver God did not endow him with a faculty for making mistakes by which he means a kind of faculty which would ever enable me to go wrong while using it properly AT VII 54 CSM II 37 38 So the goal is to show how it is that I can go wrong even though the faculty of judgment I have must yield true judgments when it is used properly Compare M1 where Descartes states that although it would seem foreign to God s goodness to allow me to be deceived even occasionally the fact is that he is sometimes deceived AT VII 1 CSM H 14 The source of error cannot be found in God so it must be sought in himself Here Descartes makes an excursion into metaphysics He notes that he has a real and positive idea of God or a being who is supremely perfect AT VII 54 CSM H 38 At the opposite pole of being so to speak he has what may be described as a negative idea of nothingness or that which is farthest removed from all perfection AT VII 54 CSM II 38 He describes himself as having a dual nature On the one hand he is a creature of God and qua God s creation he is incapable of error But on the other hand he participates in nothingness AT VII 54 CSM H 38 and this participation in nothingness is what explains his error Here Descartes sounds quite a bit like a neo Platonic philosopher such as Plotinus Since error is an imperfection he errs because of the imperfection of his nature Gassendi in the Fifth Objections says that he will pass over the impossibility of explaining how we have an idea of nothingness and what kind of idea it is and how we participate in nothingness and so on AT VII 308 CSM H 214 It must be admitted that these notions seem quite puzzling For example Descartes in M3 describes ideas as thoughts which represent possible objects Some of my thoughts are as it were the images of things and it is only in these cases that the term idea is strictly appropriate AT VII 37 CSM H 25 But how can there be an image of nothingness Descartes in his response reiterates that the idea of nothingness is a negative idea which he regards as an adequate explanation of what it is He does not explain how an idea can be negative however As for participating in non being this simply means that we are not the supreme being and that we lack very many things AT VII 374 CSM H 257 Having established his position in the order of being Descartes turns to the nature of error We are told G J Mattey s Lecture Notes on Descartes s Fourth Meditation 2 that error is not something real which depends on God but merely a defect AT VII 54 To err is a defect I have by virtue of my imperfection Specifically Descartes for the first time puts his finger on the source of error that the faculty of true judgment which I have from God is in my case not infinite AT VII 54 CSM II 38 This theme will be developed in more detail later We cannot stop at this explanation of error however because error must also be understood as a privation or lack of something knowledge that I should have in me I am not merely defective my defect deprives me of a rightful possession It seems that God would not have given me a faculty of judgment that is not perfect in its kind or which lacks some perfection which it ought to have AT VII 55 CSM II 38 Descartes uses a homely analogy to make his point the more skilled the craftsman the more perfect his productions should be As God is the ultimately skilled craftsman his possessions should be complete and perfect in all respects AT VII 55 CSM II 38 A further problem is that it seems to have been within God s power to have created him so that he was never mistaken Is it then better that I should make mistakes than that I should not do so he asks rhetorically AT VII 55 CSM II 38 Two responses are given The first is that I cannot grasp God s aims His own nature is very weak and limited while that of God is immense incomprehensible and infinite AT VII 55 CSM II 39 So many of the causes of God s action are simply inexplicable to him At this point Descartes without fanfare draws a consequence for physics Because God s ends in acting cannot be comprehended we should not appeal to them in our explanations of natural phenomena This would banish final causes from physics which in turn would undercut one of the main pillars of Aristotelian physics For Aristotle the final cause is one of the four causes Physics Book II Chapter 3 Final causes are used to explain the natural motions of bodies in Aristotelian physics a view which Cartesian mechanistic physics rejects The second response is that there are two ways to look at the perfection of a created being A feature of a created being may be an imperfection relative to the being itself as the ability to err is an imperfection in me But it may be a perfection once its function as a part of the universe is considered AT VII 55 56 CSM II 39 It may be that even with the imperfection that causes me to err I may have a place in the universal scheme of things AT VII 56 CSM II 39 This supposes of course that there is a created universe outside himselfisomething he does not yet know but which is at least possible Having given a preliminary account of how the imperfection of error might be reconciled with the perfection of God Descartes turns to the nature of my errors by looking more closely at himself What he finds is that error is the result of two concurrent causes which are in him 0 The faculty of knowledge aka intellect understanding 0 The faculty of choice aka freedom of the will The distinction between two primary faculties of the soul was a commonplace from medieval philosophy Mersenne notes that understanding and will are so tightly conjoined that some have G J Mattey s Lecture Notes on Descartes s Fourth Meditation 3 thought that it is only one thing signified by different words The Use of Reason 2 The Understanding and Will Others believe that the two are really distinct can could even exist separately if God so willed it Eustachius a Sancto Paulo states unequivocally that the will is really and formally distinct from the intellect A Compendium of Philosophy in Four Parts Part Two Ethics Treatise 1 Discourse 1 Question 4 It is central to Catholic theology that at the human soul has free choice The all important choices made in life are whether to obey or not to obey the commands of God in any given act The act of choosing is an exercise of the faculty of will In fact the will can be called the faculty of choice One reason that will is so tightly conjoined to intellect is that choice arbitramm is the outcome of deliberation which is an act of the intellect Two central questions for the scholastic philosophers concerned why and how humans make the choices they do Here again there is an intimate connection between will and intellect The intellect represents various outcomes as good or evil or neither The freedom of the will with respect to good and evil consists according to Eustachius in the will s ability to will or not will a good or to repudiate or not repudiate an evil Question 3 Mersenne gives a similar account the will is always free to will or not to will He goes on to identify freedom with the will The will operates or ceases to operates hates or loves as it wishes which is tantamount to freedom Now turning back to Descartes we find a similar identification Insofar as one chooses one is exercising the will freely Here the choice in question is whether to make a judgment or withhold judgment The former engenders the risk of error the latter the risk of failure to discover the truth Descartes seems to owe the reader a reason for claiming that we do exercises our wills freely He writes to Mersenne that You were right to say that we are as sure of our free will as of any other primary notion for this is one of them December 1640 AT III 259 CSM III 161 In Axiom VII of the geometrical presentation in the Second Replies Descartes claims that to act voluntarily and freely is the essence of will AT VII 166 CSM II 117 In the Third Replies to Hobbes Descartes states On the question of our freedom I have made no assumptions beyond what we all experience within ourselves Our freedom is very evident by the natural light AT VII 191 CSM II 134 Against Gassendi in the Fifth Replies he again appeals to experience He notes that Gassendi himself claims that we can guard against persisting in error AT VII 378 CSM 260 Descartes claims that this would be quite impossible unless the will had the freedom to direct itself without the determination of the intellect toward one side or the other Suppose the intellect has already determined the will toward one side which is Gassendi s view Then something must determine the will when first it begins to guard against persisting in error Either the will determines itself or it is determined by the intellect If the former then the will is free But the latter is inexplicable In effect the intellect would have to turn against itself since it was the intellect that first presented falsehood as truth and then it turns around and purely by chance presents the truth as truth But since according to Descartes falsity is merely a privation of truth it would be totally contradictory to say that the G J Mattey s Lecture Notes on Descartes s Fourth Meditation 4 intellect presents falsity in the guise of truth Descartes agrees with the scholastic doctrine that we can recognize a good or a truth and yet not pursue or affirm it though this is not at all clear from the published texts where it seems as if when the intellect recognizes a truth through clear and distinct perception or by the natural light it will choose to accept it as being true In M4 itself Descartes writes I could not but judge that something which I understood so clearly was true but this was not because I was compelled so to judge by any external force but because a great light in the intellect was followed by a great inclination in the will AT VII 58 9 CSM II 41 my emphasis In the geometrical demonstrations of the Second Replies Axiom VII Descartes writes that The will of a thinking thing is drawn voluntarily and freely for this is the essence of will but nevertheless inevitably towards a clearly known good ATM VII 166 CSM II 117 my emphasis In the Sixth Replies Descartes states that because man finds that the nature of all goodness and truth is already determined by God and his will cannot tend towards anything else it is evident that he will embrace what is good and true all the more willingly in proportion as he sees it more clearly ATM VII 432 CSM II 292 my emphasis Descartes writes to Mesland on May 2 1644 For it seems to me certain that a great light in the intellect is followed by a great inclination in the will so that if we see very clearly that a thing is good for us it is very difficultiand on my view impossible as long as one continues in the same thoughti to stop the course of our desire AT IV 115 116 CSM III 233 my emphasis Yet he subsequently writes on February 9 1645 to Mesland when a very evident reason moves us in one direction although morally speaking we can hardly move in the contrary direction absolutely speaking we can AT IV 173 CSM III 245 We can hold back from admitting a clearly perceived truth provided we consider it a good thing to demonstrate the freedom of our will by so doing AT IV 173 CSM III 245 It is in this sense that the will is what some would call indifferent with respect to its acts The will has a positive faculty of determining oneself to one or other of two contraries that is to say to pursue or avoid to affirm or deny This kind of indifference applies to all our actions before they are undertaken Once the act of will has taken place one is no longer indifferent in this sense for what is done cannot remain undone as long as it is being done AT IV 174 5 CSM III 246 We cannot determine ourselves not to be doing at the same time what we are doing at that time In the Compendium Eustachius points to an argument by Thomas Aquinas in favor of the freedom of choice that Man acts from judgments of reason that are free or in no way determined to one result Summa Theologica Ia question 83 article 1 this because of the indifference of reason with respect to contingent matters or particular objects of action A Compendium of Philosophy in Four Parts Second Part Treatise 1 Discourse 1 Question 4 Descartes does not deny that if one wills in the face of indifference the act of the will is free since all acts of the will are free because they are indifferent in the sense that we can determine ourselves one way or the other But he claims in M4 that the indifference I feel when there is no reason pushing me in one direction rather than another is the lowest grade of freedom AT VII 58 CSM II 40 Again to Mesland the lowest degree of freedom is that G J Mattey s Lecture Notes on Descartes s Fourth Meditation 5 by which we determine ourselves to things to which we are indifferent February 9 1645 AT IV 173 CSM III 245 Here Descartes means by indifference that state of the will when it is not impelled in one way or another by any perception of truth or goodness ibid He can point to the indifference he himself finds at this point in the Meditations Regarding the question of whether he a thinking thing is identical or distinct from corporeal nature he has not yet found any persuasive reason in favor of one alternative rather than the other AT VII 59 CSM II 41 Even if one side is more probable than the other the fact that it is known that they are simply conjectures and not certain and indubitable reasons is itself quite enough to push my assent the other way AT V1159 CSM II 41 There are two ways to understand this claim The lowly status of acting from indifference of reasons is explained in M4 in that indifference is a form of ignoranceia defect in knowledge and therefore a negation What is negative is always lower than what is positive A second reason can be found in the February 1645 letter to Mesland There Descartes explains that he understands two senses of greater freedom as meaning a greater facility in determining oneself or a greater use of the positive power we have for following the worse although we see the better and AT IV 174 CSM III 245 In cases where there is indifference where the reasons in favor are counterbalanced by the reasons against it is hardest to determine what to do The more the balance is tipped toward one side the easier it is to choose that side In the limiting case all the reasons are favorable and none unfavorable as with clear and distinct perception Then we are the freest of all in this sense It was in this sense that I wrote that I moved towards something all the more freely when there were more reasons driving me towards it for it is certain that in that case our will moves itself with greater facility and force AT IV 175 CSM III 246 A word should be said about the second sense of freedom exerting greater force in following the worse although we see the better Suppose that the arguments contra are much stronger than the arguments pro yet I take the contrary side Here I am exercising more freedom than in the case of indifference since I have to use more force than I would if the matter were one of indifference So the force in the first case pro over contra is based on the ease of determination while the force in the second case contra over pro is due to a greater exertion of the power of the will This helps explains what seems to be an anomaly in the doctrine of freedom in M4 It seems paradoxical to claim that the more inclined I am to do something the more freely I do it But if more freely means operating with greater facility then there seems to be nothing problematic in the view Moreover as stated above no matter how strongly we are inclined to act on the basis of reasons it is always open to us to resist acting on them A further topic which only emerges in the Objections and Replies has to do with God s freedom In the Sixth Objections it is claimed that by making indifference in the sense of being ignorant of the good and true does not belong to the perfection of the will you are destroying God s freedom since you are removing from his will the indifference as to whether he shall create this world rather than another world or no world at all ATM VII 416 17 CSM 281 That God from eternity is so G J Mattey s Lecture Notes on Descartes s Fourth Meditation 6 indifferent is an article of faith Yet God perceives everything with perfect clarity so perfect clarity does not remove indifference Since the essences of things are like numbers indivisible and immutable and humans and God have the same essence if clear and distinct perception removes indifference in humans it removes it in God as well Descartes s response is based on the notion that the will is determined by the good In human beings this is the case and when we see the good we are not indifferent But God does not perceive the good as something independent of his will rather by willing God brings the good into being for it is impossible to imagine that anything is thought of in the divine intellect as good or true or worthy of belief or action or omission prior to the decision of the divine will to make it so AT VII 432 CSM II 291 For example the creation of the world in time rather than eternity or the equality of the angles of a triangle to two right angles are good because God willed them Therefore the indifference which belongs to human freedom is very different from that which belongs to divine freedom AT VII 433 CSM 292 Further the claim that God and humans have the same essence is false and while indifference belongs to the essence of God it does not belong to humans who are freer the less indifferent they are The view that God s power is such that there are no limits on God s will was expressed very early Mesland found it difficult to conceive of how God would have been acting freely and indifferently if he had made it false that the three angles of a triangle were equal to two right angles or in general that contradictories could not be true together Letter of May 2 1644 AT IV 118 CSM III 235 Note that one of the examples is the law of non contradiction which many logicians take to be the fundamental principle of logic Descartes responds first by noting the infinite power of God which can make possible what by God s actual decree is impossible and vice versa God created humans with finite minds which can comprehend possibility only on the basis of what God actually made possible So God was not determined to make the law of non contradiction true and could have made it false And we should not try to comprehend how he might have done so since our nature is incapable of doing so AT IV 118 CSM III 235 The fact that God has willed various truths necessary does not imply that he necessarily willed them to be so Descartes addresses a contradiction brought forward by Mesland that God might have brought it about that his creatures were independent of him AT IV 119 CSM 235 We humans cannot put such a proposition before our minds without its being evidently impossible This means that we should simply not put them before our minds Further we should not conceive of any precedence or priority between his intellect and will as would be the case if God s will must conform to what is known by God s intellect There is in him only a single activity entirely simple and entirely pure AT IV 119 CSM III 235 Descartes ends by quoting Augustine They are so because thou see est them to be so which Descartes understands as following from the fact that in God seeing and willing are the same thing AT IV 119 CSM III 235 It should be noted that Spinoza would later deny that there is any distinction will and intellect in any being Ethics Part II Proposition 49 Corollary G J Mattey s Lecture Notes on Descartes s Fourth Meditation 7 Now we return to the narrative of M4 The function of the intellect is to enable me to perceive the ideas which are subjects of possible judgments AT VII 56 CSM ll 39 There is no error in this proper function of the intellect It is granted that the intellect is not perfect because it lacks ideas of countless things that may exist without there being corresponding ideas of them But this is not a deprivation of something I should have it is merely a lack There is no reason to think that God should have placed these ideas in him and we should not expect the craftsman to put all his perfections into every one of his works that he can put into some of them Will on the other hand is perfect in the sense of being perfectly extensive since it is known by experience that it is not restricted in any way AT VII 56 57 CSM ll 39 It is beyond Descartes s imagination that anything could be more perfect He can form the idea of an understanding that is much greater than his extremely slight and finite intellect and in fact of an intellect that is supremely great and infinite This is the nature of God The same goes for the faculties of memory or imagination the nature of God is that they be supremely great and infinite Only the will or freedom of choice is experienced within himself to be such that he cannot grasp a greater faculty and indeed this is the faculty in which he most resembles God God39s will is to be sure more firm and efficacious because of God39s wisdom and power and so it ranges over a greater number of items AT VII 57 CSM ll 40 But when we are in a position to affirm and deny etc it is open to us whether to do so There follows a discussion of the indifference Descartes feels when he is not pushed one way or another because his reasons are not compelling This has already been covered above Because of the extent and perfection of the will it is not will which by itself is the basis of error The understanding cannot be the source of error since it is produced by God and everything that I understand I undoubtedly understand correctly and any error here is impossible AT VII 58 CSM ll 40 This claim is somewhat puzzling since we commonly think that we misunderstand various things It seems that the understanding provides him with ideas which are the possible subjects of judgments Descartes had claimed earlier that there is no falsehood in ideas per se but only a presentation of an object Any incorrectness would be due to a faulty judgment But it would seem that a judgment would be either predicative where the subject is said to have some attribute or existential where the object presented in the idea is taken to exist And it would also seem that only the understanding could provide the propositional content of a judgment An act of will would only affirm or deny the truth of a given proposition And yet it also seems as if we affirm false propositions which are apparently supplied by the understanding It may be that understand is used as a success term here as in really understand Then one would have to account for what is going on when we apparently understand but fail to do so Perhaps the explanation is that Descartes has in mind the understanding operating in such a way that it is G J Mattey s Lecture Notes on Descartes s Fourth Meditation 8 completely untainted by any contribution by the sense and imagination When he understands something the only thing involved is the natural light Error results from the finitude of the intellect and infinitude of the will The will is capable of affirming what is not presented clearly and distinctly by the understanding because its scope exceeds that of the understanding When the will extends to what is not clearly understood it easily turns aside from what is true and good and this is the source of my error and sin AT VII 58 CSM II 40 41 because the will itself is indifferent in these cases since it is not compelled by overwhelming evidence as in the case of his existence following from his raising the question of his existence Once doubts are raised the will can become indifferent Higher order knowledge that one is reasoning probably or conjecturally can be enough to allow him to restrain his will as occurred in M1 The will is not indifferent with respect to what is presented by the intellect insofar as the intellect puts something forward in a compelling way or clearly and distinctly or through a great light so that reason makes it easy for his will to assent This is the only way that the will is shaken from its indifference This fact is confirmed by his ability to turn doubts about the existence of various things into the supposition that they were wholly false AT VII 59 CSM II 41 If I refrain from assenting to what is not clearly and distinctly perceived it is clear that I am behaving correctly and avoiding error AT VII 59 CSM II 41 If on the other hand I affirm or deny such a thing then I am not using my free will correctly AT VII 59 CSM II 41 The reasoning for this conclusion is by cases If what is presented by the intellect is false I will be in error but if it is true it is by pure chance that I arrive at the truth and I shall still be at fault since it is clear by the natural light that the perception of the intellect should always precede the determination of the will AT VII 60 CSM II 41 It has been claimed already that error is a privation which is to say that when I err I am lacking something that I should have I should be free of error but insofar as I am not it is my doing and not that of the faculty of will or its operation insofar as it depends on God AT VII 60 CSM II 41 So the should is hypothetical I am only lacking in what I should have if I have misused my faculties It might be thought that God is depriving me of what I ought to have because God created me with an understanding or natural light which is finite But it is the nature of a created intellect to be finite and the nature of a finite intellect to be limited in its scope I should be giving thanks to God rather than blaming him for depriving me of something I should have It might also be thought that God is responsible for my errors because God has given me a will with unlimited scopeia scope which is much wider than that of the intellect There are two responses to this objection 1 The nature of the will is to be a unitary thing that is indivisible Take away any of the will39s ability to choose and it ceases to be will It is apparently impossible then for the scope of the will to be restricted 2 I should in fact be grateful to God for having given me a faculty of this scope and in fact grateful without limits because my will is without limits The last grounds for complaint might be that God concurs with my errant acts of will when I judge on G J Mattey s Lecture Notes on Descartes s Fourth Meditation 9 the basis of what is not clearly and distinctly presented by the understanding Descartes claims that in so far as these acts depend on God they are wholly true and good AT VII 60 CSM II 42 Apparently the reason for this claim is that I would be less perfect if I did not have the means to make them Also it follows from the nature of God that what God does is wholly true and good Next Descartes finally cashes in on his metaphysical description of error as being a privation or the result of my participation in nothingness From the standpoint of myself my error is a privation But when it is referred to God as its cause it is not a privation but a negation in the scholastic sense of that term AT VII 61 CSM II 42 Because a negation is not a thing it does not require God39s concurrence So the error I make is a non thing and is not created or sustained by God God has only given me something real my freedom which is what I misuse when I err On the other hand Descartes admits that God could easily have created him so as not to err This could have come about in one of two ways 1 that his understanding always presented him with clear and distinct perceptions of everything about which I was ever likely to deliberate AT VII 61 CSM II 42 2 that his memory would remind him always not to assent to what he does not perceive clearly and distinctly If he had been made in either of these two ways then as a totality he would have been more perfect but again the universe as a whole might not have been as perfect as it is It may be that I have a role in the perfection of the whole And I have no right to complain that the role God wished me to undertaken in the world is not the principal one or even the most perfect of all AT VII 61 CSM II 43 This is a reprise of his holistic argument at AT VII 55 6 CSM II 39 Even if I cannot avoid error in way 1 I can still avoid it by a version of way 2 That is even if my memory was not such that it was impressed unforgettably with the admonition not to believe what is not clearly and distinctly perceived he can still impress it on himself so to speak Moreover and this is a separate point while I cannot keep my attention fixed on one and the same item of knowledge at all timesI can by meditation get myself into the habit of remembering the items of knowledge I have reached so that I can make myself remember it as often as the need arises AT II 62 CSM II 43 This will keep Descartes from error The meditation is concluded with a paragraph which invites a certain kind of deep criticism After stating that man39s greatest and most important perfection is to be found in the habit of avoiding error AT II 62 CSM II 43 Descartes re states his formula for avoiding error to restrain his will such that it does not exceed his clear and distinct perceptions Then it is quite impossible for me to go wrong AT VII 62 CSM II 43 This is a much stronger claim than the one made in M3 where Descartes states that I now seem to be able to lay it down as a general rule that whatever I perceive very clearly and distinctly is true AT VII 35 CSM II 24 An impossibility claim requires a strong argument Here is a relatively detailed reconstruction of the argument Descartes offers 1 Suppose that I go wrong in making a judgment I that something is true based on a clear and G J Mattey s Lecture Notes on Descartes s Fourth Meditation 10 distinct perception P Assumption 2 The only means for correcting a judgment is by recognizing that the perception on which it is based is not clear and distinct M3 3 So if I go wrong in making a judgment I that something is true based on a clear and distinct perception P then I have no means for correcting J 12 4 So Ihave no means of correcting J 13 5 If I have no means for correcting a judgment that something is true based on a clear and distinct perception of it then the judgment is incorriginy deceptive Primitive Notion 6 So I is incorrigibly defective 45 7 If a perception is clear and distinct then it exists Primitive Notion 8 So P exists 17 9 Any clear and distinct perception in me is created by God Primitive Notion 10 So P is created by God 89 So God has created in me a perception that is the basis of an incorrigibly defective judgment 167 If God has created in me a perception that is the basis of an an incorrigibly deceptive perception then God is a deceiver Primitive Notion So God is a deceiver 1112 So if I go wrong in making a judgment that something is true based on a clear and distinct perception of it then God is a deceiver 1 13 Conditional Proof God is perfect Primitive Notion Deception is a defect Primitive Notion It is not possible for a perfect being to have a defect Primitive Notion It is not possible for a a perfect being to be a deceiver 1617 So it is not possible that God is a deceiver 1518 So it is not possible for me to go wrong in making a judgment that something is true based on a clear and distinct perception of it 1419 N bl NI I I I H Okom o ll The justifications given for the substantive premises are of two kinds What are called primitive notions involve either mere recognition of connections between concepts what Kant would call analytic judgments The light of nature is invoked with respect to substantive claims such as that God creates any clear and distinct perception that is in me Step 2 is key to the argument It is based on what Descartes claims in M3 about the light of nature at AT VII 38 39 CSM II 27 Whatever is revealed to me by the natural light cannot in any way be open to doubt This is because there cannot be another faculty both as trustworthy as the natural light and also capable of showing me that such things are not true While this claim is explicitly about the natural light it is equivalent to a statement about clear and distinct perceptions In the Reply to Hobbes s Thirteenth Objection AT VII 192 CSM II 135 Descartes states that As everyone knows a light in the intellect means transparent clarity of cognition Here we take it that the natural light is the great light in the intellect that is followed by a great inclination of the will in the passage from M4 under attack by Hobbes For example during the past few days I have been asking whether anything in the world exists and I have realized from the very fact of my raising this question it follows quite evidently that I exist I could not but judge that something which I understood so clearly G J Mattey s Lecture Notes on Descartes s Fourth Meditation 11 is true AT VII 58 CSM ll 41 This is the same example that Descartes uses in describing the natural light in the M3 passage just cited that from the fact that I am doubting it follows that I exist This argument is also controversial because it relies on a claim that God exists and is the source of clear and distinct ideas as stated in steps 9 and 10 Yet Descartes seems to hold that our knowledge of the existence of God depends solely on certain clear and distinct perceptions that he has But in the proof of God39s existence Descartes uses the clarity and distinctness of certain perceptions or appeals to the light of nature which is equivalent as the basis for his acceptance of the premises of his argument Why is he entitled to do so if he does not know that clear and distinct ideas are true until after he has proved that God exists This portends the Cartesian circle but we will not discuss it until we look at a companion passage at the end of M5 Note on citations Citations from Descartes are given first with the volume and page from the Adam and Tannery edition of Descartes s works aimres which are given in the margins of the Cottingham Stoothoff and Murdoch translations The Philosophical Writings of Descartes The citation CSM with volume and page numbers are to that work Citations from Eustachius a Sancto Paulo and Mersenne are taken from Descartes Meditations Background and Source Materials edited by Ariew Cottingham and Sorell G J Mattey s Lecture Notes on Descartes s Fourth Meditation 12 Plato s Euthyphro G J Mattey Winter 2006 Philosophy 1 The First Principle 0 Our rst text will be from Plato and centered around his teacher Socrates 469 399 BC 0 Before Socrates and during his life the main outlines of philosophical inquiry had begun to take shape 0 The main question posed by the preSocratic philosophers was metaphysical What is the rst principle arche of all reality 0 The question itself can be understood in two main ways What is the material of which all things are composed Water Thales Air Anaximenes Fire Heraclitus Solid shaped atoms Leucippus Democritus What is responsible for the organization of all things 96 Number Pythagoras Mind Anaxagoras Unity and Plurality o The search for a rst principle of all things is at bottom a search for a uni ed explanation of a plurality of things 0 An alternative approach taken by Parmenides is to deny that there is any plural ity at all 0 According to Parmenides all that is is one metaphysical monism 0 His student Zeno of Elea proposed several famous paradoxes to support Par menides s monism o Zeno used a distinctive argument form reductio ad absurdum that has been widely used by philosophers ever since Assume that opposite of your view is true Show that a contradiction or absurdity follows from the assumption Conclude that the opposite of your view is false in which case your view is true Plato and Socrates 0 Most of the writings of Plato 427347 BC consist of dialogues between Socrates and various residents of and travelers to Athens 0 In most of the dialogues the words of Socrates apparently re ect the thoughts of Plato 0 One of Plato s chief concenis was with the metaphysical question of the basis of unity among different things 0 This is the key issue in his early dialogue Euthyphro The Form 0 We commonly think that distinct objects acts etc what we will call things are of the same kin George W Bush Hillary Clinton Tiger Woods are all people Observing religious holidays making sacri ces behaving virtuously are all pious acts 0 According to Plato things fall under the same kind because there is something the same and alike in every one of them 0 The form is what makes things the kind of things they are 0 The form is also the model that can be used to determine that a thing falls under a kind 0 A key task of metaphysics is to give a description of the form of things of various inds The Case of Piety 0 One does not describe the form of piety by merely listing pious acts 0 Any description of the form of piety must at least give a necessary and suf cient condition for an act to be pious For any act x if x is pious then x satis es the condition necessary For any act x if x satis es the condition then x is pious suf cient o Euthyphro proposes that being loved by the gods is a necessary and suf cient condition for the piety of an act and being hated by the gods is necessary and suf cient for the impiety of an act For any act x x is pious if and only if x is loved by the gods For any act x x is impious if and only if x is hated by the gods A Problem with the Proposal 0 Socrates notes that there is anger and hostility in disagreements between the gods 0 Euthyphro agrees that the only subjects of disagreement that could provoke such a reaction would be what is Just or unjust Good or bad Beautiful or ugly o If god x thinks that an act is just and god y thinks it is unjust god x will love it and god y will hate it o Gods in fact disagree over which acts are just 0 It follows from Euthyphro s conditions that such acts are both pious and impious which is absurd 0 So the conditions given by Euthyphro are not necessary and suf cient for the piety or impiety of an act A Revised Proposal 0 Euthyphro chooses to give up the claim that being loved by some god is a suf cient condition for being a pious action 0 His new description of piety is being loved by all the gods For any act x x is pious if and only if x is loved by all the gods 0 Socrates allows that being loved by all the gods is the same and alike in every pious action 0 But this condition is only a quality of pious acts 0 It is not suf cient to describe the form because it does not explain what makes a pious act pious An Explanatory De ciency 0 Why does Socrates claim that being loved by all the gods does not make a pious act pious o Socrates s argument depends on a general principle Anything that is loved is loved because of a feature it has that makes it loveable 0 So if all the gods love a pious act it is because there is something about the act that makes it loveable o If being pious is what makes a pious act loveable to all the gods then the fact that all the gods love it cannot explain why the pious act is pious rather it presupposes that the act is pious 0 So we must look for some feature of the act other than piety to explain why a pious act is loveable and hence why the gods love it o In that case we cannot explain what piety is merely by the quality of pious acts that they are loved by all the gods What Makes a Pious Act Pious 0 Following a suggestion of Socrates Euthyphro takes piety to fall under the more general kind the just Piety is the part of the just that concerns the care of the gods 0 This account of piety remedies the problem with the proposal that what is pious is what is loved by all the gods It shows what makes a pious act pious without appealing to piety itself It explains why all the gods love a pious act 0 Socrates attempts to refute the account by claiming that the gods cannot be cared for The gods cannot be bene tted by a pious act since they cannot be made better The gods are not served by a pious act since they need no help in attaining their ends 0 Socrates s conclusion is that there is no part of the just that concerns the care of the gods so this attempt to explain what makes a pious act pious fails A Final Attempt at Accounting for Piety o Euthyprho takes a last stab at giving an account of what makes pious acts pious 0 He proposes that pious acts are acts which are performed on the basis of piety o Piety itself is knowledge of how to give to and beg from the gods 0 Like the last one this account would show what makes a pious act pious o It would also explain why the gods love a pious act ie the act is loveable because it is performed in the proper way Objections to the Final Attempt o Socrates has two objections to the account of piety as knowledge of how to give to and beg from the gods 0 The rst objection is similar in its structure to the objection to the previous ac count of piety 1 To give correctly is to satisfy needs 2 But the gods have no needs to satisfy 3 So there is no correct way to give to the gods and so no knowledge of how to give to the gods 0 The second objection focuses on what it would be to give to and beg from the gods properly 1 To give to and beg from the gods properly is to act in a way that is loved by all the gods 2 So a pious act is one which is performed in such a way as is loved by all the gods 3 But being performed in a way such as is loved by all the gods does not explain what makes a pious act pious 4 So being performed based on knowledge of how to give to and beg from is not the form of piety Must the Loved be Loveable o Euthyphro yields to all of Socrates s objections but he did not have to 0 He might have rejected Socrates s general principle that something is loved only because of some feature it has that makes it loveable 0 Thus he could have held that pious acts are loved by the gods simply because they are inclined to love them Krika on Semantics G J Mattey Fall 2005 Philosophy 156 A Note on Method 0 Kripke s early work on semantics was in the formal semantics of modal logic 0 In Naming and Necessity he treats semantics of natural language 0 He relies very heavily on intuitive considerations Some philosophers think that something s having intuitive content is very inclonclusive evidence in favor of it I think it is very heavy evidence in favor of anything myself lreally don t know in a way what more conclu sive evidence one can have about anything ultimately speaking 42 0 And he claims to think poorly of philosophical theories The only defect I think a certain theory has is probably common to all philosophical theories lt s wrong You may suspect me of proposing an other theory in its place but I hope not because I m sure it s wrong too if it is a theory 64 The Signi cance of Names 0 A key question in semantics has to do with the signi cance of names 0 We will be considering here proper names in natural language such as those of Persons Sir Walter Scott Cities London Countries England 0 Mill held that names have no connotation but only reference 0 Frege and Russell claimed on the contrary that names have meaning as well as reference 0 The Frege Russell view became predominant over the Millean view Mill s View 0 The city of Dartmouth may have been so named because it lies at the mouth of the Dart River 0 Suppose that Dartmouth connotes or means City at the mouth of the Dart River Suppose further that the course of the Dart River has changed and the city is no longer at its mouth 0 No one would think of ceasing to apply the name Dartmouth in the customary way 0 A proper name only shows what we are talking about without saying anything about it 0 Proper names are attached to the objects themselves and are not dependent on the continuance of any attribute of the object Mill A System of Logic Book I Chapter II OfNames o Kripke Someone who said that Dartmouth does not lie at the Dart s mouth would not contradict himself 26 The FregeRussell View 0 For Frege and Russell a proper name which is used correctly is merely a dis guised or abbreviated de nite description Frege speci cally claimed that a description is the sense or meaning of the name 0 This view is supposed to remedy a de ciency in Mill s view It explains how we can use names to refer things or determine the reference of things with which we are not personally acquainted 0 We can do this only based on our knowledge of the things in question 0 And this knowledge is what is expressed by the de nite description To whom are you referring when you use the word Napoleon I am referring to the emperor of the French in the early part of the nine teenth century who was eventually defeated at Waterloo Subsidiary Arguments for the FregeRussell View 0 Frege noted that we can account for the informativeness of identity statements involving two proper names if their meaning is a description Hesperus is Phosphorus The star we saw in the evening is the star we saw in the morning 0 We can also inquire whether the apparent referent of a proper name actually exists or existed Did Aristotle exist Was there exactly one Greek philosopher who wrote certain philosophical wor s o Kripke thinks the FregeRussell view is false but he will not try to answer all the arguments in favor of their view A Problem with the FregeRussell View 0 A problem for the FregeRussell view is that it seems that there is no single description which is the unique meaning of a proper name The meaning of Aristotle is Plato s disciple and the teacher of Alexander the Great The meaning of Aristotle is The Stagirite teacher of Alexander the Great 0 Frege is willing to tolerate these uxuations in ordinary language but not in a perfect language 0 A further dif culty is that if there is a unique meaning expressed by a description some sentences would be analytic Aristotle taught Alexander the Great The Stagirite teacher of Alexander the Great taught Alexander the Great Cluster Theories o The most common solution is to allow that no single description is semantically associated with a name but rather that a cluster of descriptions is o The cluster of descriptions could ful ll one of two semantical roles either Giving the meaning of the name or Determining the referent of the name 0 One could like Ziff allow that the cluster of descriptions determine what names refer to without allowing that names have meaning Clusters as Determining Reference 0 The cluster theory taken merely as an account of determining reference is rela tively weak 0 It does not explain the phenomena that the Frege Russell theory was designed to handle Moses does not exist cannot be analyzed into There is no unique man who did such and such Different descriptions of the cluster will ll out the such and such in dif ferent ways 0 A special argument independent of the general theory of the meaning of names would be required to provide the needed analyses 0 Kripke does not pursue this possibility since he rejects the view that there is any such analysis of the negative existential The A Priori and the Necessary o Philosophers often talk as if the following descriptions of the truth of sentences mean the same thing A prio Analytic Necessary o Kripke does not use the terms a priori and necessary interchangeably 0 He will argue in both directions Some truths are contingent hence not necessary yet are known a prio Some necessary truths are known a posteriori hence not a p ori The A Priori o The traditional Kantian account of an a p ori truth is as one which can be known independently of experience 0 By whom can an a priori truth be so known God Martians People with minds like ours 0 To avoid having to answer this question we can relativize the notion of the a p ori to a person A particular knower knows something a priori A particular believer believes something is hue based on a p ori evidence 0 It is possible that the same truth that is knowable a priori is knowable through experience That a certain number is prime is leanied from the output of a computer Necessity o The concept of necessity is sometimes used in different ways Epistemologically and thus as equivalent to a priori Physically Metaphysically o A sentence is metaphysically necessary when it is not possible that the world should have been different with respect to what it says 0 A sentence that is metaphysically necessary may not be epistemologically nec essary Goldbach s conjecture an even number greater than 2 must be the sum of two prime numbers 0 If it is true the world could not have been other than to make it true 0 But we may not know whether it is true or false so it is not epistemologically necessary or known a p ori Attempts to Connect Necessity With theA Priori o The example of Goldbach s conjecture shows that necessary and a priori as applied to statements are not obvious synonyms 38 0 An argument is needed to connect the two 0 Two main reasons for their equivalence have been given A necessary sentence can be known to be true simply by running through all the possible worlds in our heads What is known a priori is known without looking at the world and so must not depend on any contingent feature of the actual world 0 Neither reason is trivial 0 So the connection of necessity with the a priori is not trivial Necessity De Dicto and De Re 0 Suppose we allow the necessity of sentences necessity de dicta o It can still be held that there are no necessary properties of things necessity de re 0 It is argued that a property of a thing can be thought of as necessary or as con tingent depending on the way it is described Necessarily 9 is an odd number Possibly the number of the planets is not an odd number Necessarily the man who won the US presidential election in 1968 won the US presidential election in 1968 Possibly Nixon did not win the US presidential election in 1968 0 So at best a property holds at all possible worlds of a thing as described in a speci c way The Intuitiveness of Allowing Essential Properties 0 It is thought that allowing necessary essential properties of an individual as such not under a description is unintuitive and something only a bad philoso pher would think of doing 0 But the reverse is true it is intuitive to think that there may be necessary proper ties though it could turn out that there are none 0 Suppose some ordinary person points at Nixon and says This man might not have won the election 0 The intuitively clear meaning is that this man the man who actually won the election is the actual winner but under different circumstances someone else would have been the winner or no one would have won at all 0 So the necessary or contingent properties are properties of this man who is just named by Nixon or described as the winner of the election Identity Across Possible Worlds 0 Philosophers who think the accidentalessential properties distinction is unintu itive may be motivated by a view about identity across possible worlds 0 On this view possible worlds are characterized by purely qualitative descrip tions We must not say that a world contains Nixon but rather It contains a man with a dog named Checkers who looks like a comedian doing a certain impression and loses the 1968 presidential election 0 To tell whether Nixon has accidental properties we must be able to tell whether someone in such a world who lacks some properties of the real Nixon is really Nixon o It looks like we cannot in general do that and so we cannot make sense of ac cidental properties How to Think About Possible Worlds 0 Kripke suggests that we retuni to the intuitive way in which possible worlds are understood 0 They are not discovered as if with a telescope 0 Rather they are stipulated by giving a description of them 0 The description can make reference to individuals such as myself or Nixon 0 So when we ask whether Nixon might have lost the election we consider coun terfactual worlds containing Nixon himself and ask whether in any such world he has lost the election 0 We can oint to the man and ask what might have happened to him had events been different 46 Essential Properties and Knowledge 0 We might ask whether Nixon might not have been a human being given that he is one o If so then being a human being is not an essential property of Nixon 0 Whether being human is essential to Nixon the human being is not a question about what we know It is a question about even though such and such things are the case what might have been the case otherwise 47 o A similar case involves whether this table which is composed of molecules might not have been so composed o This question is distinct from the question of whether and how we know that it is composed of molecules Rigid Designators 0 We will assume that we can make sense of the notion of identity across possible wor s 0 Then we can give a quasitechnical de nition of two kinds of designators Rigid designating the same object in every possible world NonRigid or Accidental not designating the same object in every possi ble world 0 A designator is strongly rigid when what it designates exists in all possible worlds 0 We think of a property as being essential when it holds of an object at every world at which it exists Names as Rigid Designators 0 One of Kripke s main intuitive theses is that names are rigid designators Nixon in our world designates Nixon and Nixon is the same object in every world in which he exists So Nixon as used in our world designates the same object in all appli cable possible worlds 0 A description such as the President of the US in 1970 is a nonrigid designator Humphrey might have been the President in 1970 0 To demand that we have qualitative criteria of transworld identity in order to make sense of rigid designation is a reversal of our intuitive understanding of the semantics of names Things and Properties 0 The felt need to demand transworld identity in terms of identi cation by qual ities is based on a false dilemma about the relation of things and properties Either a thing is nothing but a bundle of properties or A thing is a bare particular which stands behind its properties 0 A better view is that a thing has all its properties This table is wooden brown in the room etc 52 0 So we can talk about what this table might have been by considering worlds containing this table and asking what properties it has there Determining Reference 0 Suppose that the length one meter is the length of a certain bar the meter bar in Paris 0 Wittgenstein must have been wrong in denying that the meter bar is one meter in length 0 It might be asked whether being one meter in length is essential to the meter bar ie whether the meter bar is one meter in length in all possible worlds 0 Some say that it must be one meter long because its length de nes the meaning of one meter 0 But in fact the length of the bar only determines the reference of one meter 0 Had the bar been heated it would have been more than one meter in length 0 Here one meter rigidly designates a certain length that the meterbar might or might not have had ContingentA Priori Truths o If someone knows that the meterbar S has been used to x the reference of one meter then he knows a priori that S is one meter long in the actual world We have seen that S might have had a different length than its actual length which xed the reference of one meter 0 Thus the statement S is one meter long is contingent o It follows that not all statements known a priori are necessary as Kant and other had held 0 The reason that the a p ori and the necessary can come apart is that the former is an epistemological notion while the latter is metaphysical De nitions 0 The important lesson from the meterbar example is that de nitions can be given by xing reference 0 This means that not all de nitions give a synonym o The distinction applies to names as well 0 If Aristotle is supposed to be synonymous with the greatest man who studied with Plato then it is not a rigid designator In some other possible world another man is the greatest who studied with Plato 0 But if the greatest man who studied with Plato only xes the reference of Aris totle we can consistently say that Aristotle might not have studied with Plato o Kripke endorses the general claim that names are always rigid designators Negative Existentials o On the FregeRussell analysis of names as descriptions Moses did not exist is analyzed as The man who did such and such say led the Israelites out of Egypt did not exist which for Russell meant It is not the case that there is a unique man who led the Israelites out of Egypt 0 But intuitively it seems that Moses might have done things which would have precluded his leading the Israelists out of Egypt 0 This intuition can be accommodated if the man who led the Israelites out of Egypt merely xes the reference of Moses How Reference Gets Fixed 0 In the rest of Lecture I and through most of Lecture II Kripke criticizes a detailed formulation of the cluster theory of the meaning or reference of names 0 As a theory of meaning the cluster theory has the unintuitive consequences al ready noted 0 The main problem with the cluster theory as a theory of reference is that it gives a mostly wrong picture of how reference is xed 0 It is based on the idea that the reference of a name is xed in isolation from the linguistic community by a mere act of attaching a description to it By Godel I shall mean the man whoever he is who proved the incom pleteness of arithmetic 91 o In most cases reference is xed through a social process beginning with an initial baptism and passing the reference on in a chain of communication 96 H dentity Statements 0 The balance of Lecture II contains a treatment of identity statements 0 It is generally agreed that identity statements involving descriptions are contin gent The man who invented bifocals was the rst Postmaster General of the United States If this statement is true as it presumably is about Benjamin Franklin then it is contingently true 0 Given that names are rigid designators a statement of identity whose terms are names are necessarily true if true at all Hesperus is Phosphorus The referent of Hesperus is the same at all worlds as is the referent of Phosphorus so if they refer to the same thing at one world they refer to the same thing at all worlds 0 In some cases the necessary truth of identity statements is known only a posteri o Essential Properties 0 At the beginning of Lecture HL Kripke gives some examples of what he is con vinced are essential properties 0 A property is essential when its bearer could not have failed to have it Given that Queen Elizabeth H was born of two parents she could not have come from parents other than those very two persons Given that this table was made from a certain hunk of wood it could not have come from another hunk of wood or have come from something else such as ice 0 We might grant that there could be something exactly resembling these objects in just the places they occupy but these objects would be something other than Elizabeth or this table Theoretical Identities 0 Some statements of identity involving theoretical terms are necessary though known a posteriori Gold is the element with atomic number 79 Heat is molecular motion 0 Scienti c discoveries about what a kind of thing is are a posteriori discoveries of necessary truths Assume that the reference of heat has been xed in some way Then it is learned through scienti c investigation that this kind of thing is molecular motion of some ind In all possible worlds what we call heat is that kind of molecular motion it is what heat is 0 We may think that the identity is contingent because the property that xes the reference a feeling of heat is only contingently related to the kind heat 0 In general the semantical behavior of natural kinds terms parallels that of proper names their rigid designation makes identity statements necessary MindBody Identity 0 Some philosophers have made identity claims relative to minds and bodies A person is identical With his body A particular sensation is identical to a brain state A certain type of mental state is identical to a certain type of brain state pain 2 stimulation of C bers 0 Taking mental states and brain states to be natural kinds the identity if true is necessarily true given the results above 0 So if the identity theory espoused by materialism is a scienti c theoretical iden ti cation the identities involved are necessary Against Materialism o It seems that the identity between types of mental states and types of brain states is contingent A brain state might exist Without the corresponding mental state A mental state might exist Without the corresponding brain state 0 If so then the materialistic identity theory is not a scienti c theoretical identi cation 0 The contingency here is not the kind of contingency found in scienti c theoreti cal identities What xes the reference may be a contingent property such as a feeling of eat 0 In the mindbody case there is no such contingent property Which xes the ref erence of pain 0 Pain is What it appears to be a feeling of pain is pain Lecture Notes Comments on a Certain Broadsheet G J Mattey December 4 2008 This short work was published in 1648 in response to some published criticisms of Descartes The work mainly analyzes and rebuts a broadsheet or ier published in 1647 by Henri de Roi Henricus Regius This sheet consisting of twenty one articles was entitled An Account of the Human Mind or Rational Soul which Explains What it is and What it Can Be It also attacks two pamphlets also published in 1647 by Jacques de Rives Jacobus Revius The pamphlets were collectively entitled Gemina Disputatio Metaphysica de Deo Two Metaphysical Disputes Concerning God Regius was a follower of Descartes who taught medicine at Utrecht in the Netherlands and polemically defended views he attributed to Descartes He got into trouble for his efforts particularly at the hands of Gijsbert Voet Gisbertus Voetius who in turn attacked not only Descartes s views on natural philosophy but also his religious beliefs and his morality Descartes replied in a very lengthy letter of May 1643 to Voetius s attacks In the Comments Descartes describes the relationship with Regius At first he thought well of the man but then he repudiated him He states that he is forced to admit that I blush in shame to think in the past I have praised this author as a man of the most penetrating intelligence and endorsed Regius s teachings as his own AT VIIIB 364 CSM I 307 In the French Preface to the Principles of Philosophy Descartes had already condemned his views AT IXB 19 CSM I 189 There he notes that in his The Foundations of Physics Regius copied Descartes s views on physics and medicine But even these views were tainted as the copying was inaccurate the order of presentation was changed and metaphysical truths on which the physics was based were denied As a result I am obliged to disavow his work entirely And I must also beg my readers never to attribute to me any opinion they do not find explicitly stated in my writings AT IXB 19 20 CSM I 189 In the Comments Descartes notes that he had originally credited Regius with some insight due to the fact that he found his own views re ected in his writing But when Reguis tried to think originally he showed himself to do nothing but make things up and his innovations were uniformly wrong Descartes states that Regius is utterly unreliable in presenting Descartes s views whether in metaphysics where he at out contradicts Descartes or in physics where he gives a distorted account So I find this learned doctor s treatment of my writings and his efforts at interpreting or rather falsifying them much more annoying than the most bitter attacks which others have made upon them AT VIIIB 365 CSM I 308 On the other hand de Rives was a religious skeptic whose pamphlets do not mention any specific philosopher but Descartes thought that for various reasons he may as well suppose that they were directed at him AT VIIIB CSM I 308 He describes the result of his grotesque effort as being simply a heap of worthless quibbles and slanders which no one could believe AT VIIIB 365 CSM I 308 They show the truth of the doctrines of Descartes at the expense of de Rives s own reputation better than could any praise G J Mattey s Lecture Notes Comments on a Certain Broadsheet 1 There are twenty one articles in the Regius s Broadsheet They are summarized here 1 The human mind is a faculty of thinking which is that by means of which man immediately performs acts of thinking Mind could be a substance or a mode of a corporeal substance or perhaps merely different attributes of a single substance though neither is contained in the other There is no contradiction in this so it is possible Because of this possibility one cannot prove that we clearly and distinctly perceive mind and body as really distinct On the other hand divine Scripture attests beyond doubt to the separability of mind and body The claim that we can have doubts about whether bodies exist but not about whether the mind exists proves nothing more than that we cannot say that the mind is a mode of the body so long as we are doubting that bodies exist Although the human mind is a substance really distinct from the body it is organic in all its actions while united with the body so that as the disposition of the body varies so the mind has different thoughts The mind is incorruptible because it is distinct from the body and its dispositions It is pointless to ask whether the whole mind exists in the whole body or as a whole in each part of the body since in our conception of it the mind has no parts or any extension 9 It is by nature doubtful that bodies are really perceived by us since the mind can be affected by imaginary things just as much as real things but Scripture removes even this doubt and shows it to be indubitable that God created heaven and earth and everything in them and keeps them in existence now 10 It is the law of the immutability of nature according to which everything remains in its present state so long as it is not disturbed by anything else that binds the soul to the body 11 It seems that the soul is brought into existence by an immediate act of creation by God in the process of generation of a new person 12 Since the faculty of thinking is the only thing the mind needs to perform its own acts it has no need of ideas or notions or axiom which are innate 13 From this it follows that the origin of all common notions which are engraved on the mind is either observation or verbal instruction 14 This applies even to the idea of God with the third option of divine revelation 15 The fact that we have an idea or concept of God in our minds does not go far to prove that God exists since it is not the case that everything of which we have an explicit conception exists The idea of God does not transcend our powers of thinking any more than an idea of any other thing even though we do not grasp the idea of God perfectly 16 There are two different kinds of thoughts in the mind intellect and volition 17 In intellect we find perception and judgment 18 Perception consists of sense perception memory and imagination 19 Sense perception is almost entirely perception of corporeal motion There is no need for intentional forms Sense perception takes place in the brain alone and not in the sense organs 20 We know from our inner awareness that the will is free In the case of natural as opposed to supernatural things it is indifferent as between opposites 2 L114 U VV V V 0 v 00l VV G J Mattey s Lecture Notes Continents on a Certain Broadsheet 2 21 The will is not blind but is self determining We would not say that vision is deaf and similarly we should not say that will is blind We may summarize the contents of the articles as follows Articles 1 8 10 11 The nature of the mind or soul and its relation to the body Article 9 Skepticism concerning the existence of bodies Articles 12 14 The origin of ideas Article 15 The proofs of the existence of God Articles 16 21 The faculties of the mind Mind and Body Regius agrees with Descartes that the soul consists solely in the faculty or inner principle of thinking Article 1 But this does not define the soul since it gives only what differentiates it from other things A genus is needed Regius presents a set of three options all of which he thinks to be possible in the sense of not being contradictory The soul is a substance as the body is a substance 0 The soul is a mode of a corporeal substance 0 The soul is an attribute of a substance which also has the attribute of being extended The first possibility commonly known as dualism is the one accepted by Descartes The second is materialism and it is this option that Descartes took Regius to have adopted despite some appearances to the contrary In his comments on Article 6 Descartes concludes that in fact he asserts though not quite in so many words that the mind is nothing but a mode of the body as though he had set the sights of all his arguments on this one target AT VIIIB 356 CSM I 302 Descartes thought that the more sharp witted of his readers would recognize that he is entirely of the opinion that the mind is nothing but a mode So we will first consider the alleged possibility that the mind is a mode of a body First we must be clear about what a mode is A mode of a substance depends on a substance while the substance does not depend on it Moreover a mode is a contingent feature of a substance so that the substance might or might not have it For example engaging in the activity of writing is a mode of Descartes He may be writing but he need not be doing so With this clear understanding of the nature of a mode we turn to a syllogistic argument Regius uses to support the claim that it is possible that the mind is a mode of a body 1 Whatever we can conceive of can exist as it is conceived 2 We can conceive of the mind as a mode of a corporeal substance 3 Therefore the mind can exist as a mode of a corporeal substance The first major premise seems to be one that Descartes would endorse For example at the beginning G J Mattey s Lecture Notes Continents on a Certain Broadsheet 3 of the Sixth Meditation Descartes says that material objects are capable of existing in so far as they are the subject matter of pure mathematics since I perceive them clearly and distinctly AT VII 71 CSM ll 50 Descartes notes that the qualifier clearly and distinctly would have to be added to the first premise so that it should read Whatever we can conceive of clearly and distinctly can exist as it is conceived The second minor premise should then read We can conceive clearly and distinctly of the mind as a mode of a corporeal substance It is the modified minor premise that Descartes denies The problem is that we can also clearly and distinctly conceive of the mind as a substance in its own right So if the modified minor premise is correct there are two distinct ways in which we can clearly conceive of the mind This is to say that we can clearly conceive that one and the same thing possesses one or the other of two totally different natures AT VIIIB 352 300 But this is in fact self contradictory and the fact that Regius asserts it shows how irrational his mind is AT VIIIB 352 300 The problem is that if mind is a mode then it is dependent on some substance while if it is a substance it is not dependent on any mode The nature or essence of a thing is what it is to be that kind of thing and one kind of thing is dependent and the other kind of thing is relatively independent When it is the question of the essence of something it would be quite foolish and self contradictory to say that the nature of things leaves open the possibility that the essence of something may have a different character from the one it actually has AT VIIIB 348 297 Thus in the thrall of preconceived opinion Regius mistakenly thinks that a kind of thing that is independent could be dependent It might be thought that Regius could reply that it remains possible that the mind is a mode of the body because we only conceive mind and body as being distinct when we are doubting the existence of body This point is made in Article 5 If there are times when we need not conceive them as being distinct we could claim that at least some times we can think of mind as a mode in which case it could be a mode Descartes says in response that this kind of objection shows that he is utterly ignorant of what it is that philosophers term a mode AT VIIIB 355 301 Since Regius admits that sometimes the mind can be conceived of as independent of the body and hence as a mode he has to admit that it always must he conceived that way Now what is sometimes true of the essence or nature of something is always true of it AT VIIIB 365 302 To claim that it sometimes is and sometimes is not the nature of mind to be dependent on body therefore implies a contradiction Now let us turn to the third alleged possibility that mind and body or more properly thought and extension are attributes of a single substance This view now known as neutral monism was in fact adopted by Spinoza in his Ethics It is called monism because it is opposed to dualism in that it involves only one substance It is neutral in the sense that neither thought nor extension has primacy over the other Regius proposes that the one attribute is not included in the concept of the other Article 1 On the other hand the two attributes do not exclude each other either they are not opposites but merely different Article 1 Descartes recognizes that the classification of substances according to the attributes of thought and of extension is his own doing However he rejects the claim that a substance can have more than one G J Mattey s Lecture Notes Continents on a Certain Broadsheet 4 attribute in the sense of attribute in which thought and extension are attributes In fact Descartes will claim there is a sense in which thought and extension are opposites The word attribute can be used generically to refer to whatever belongs to a substance whatever we recognize as being naturally ascribable to something including modes AT VIIIB 348 297 But while modes are contingent and changeable thought and extension are attributes in the sense of essences which necessarily belong to the substances of which they are attributes the absolutely immutable essence of the thing in question AT VIIIB 348 297 Since the question is about what the soul is and the soul is essentially thought itself the question is whether the substance of which thought is an attribute is corporeal or incorporeal It could not be corporeal for in that case its nature would be to be extended In that case the substance would have two different natures a statement that implies a contradiction at least when it is a question of a simple subject as in the present case rather than a composite one AT VIIIB 350 CSM I 298 So neutral monism is not after all a possibility In the conversation with Burman Descartes dismisses outright the possibility that the mind could be either a substance or a mode if it is one it is not the other AT V 163 CSM III 345 But he does allow the question of whether thought is an attribute of corporeal or incorporeal substance Our clear conceptions of the two kind of substances show that thinking and corporeal substance are incompatible with each other In view of this you would be going against your own powers of reasoning in the most absurd fashion if you said the two were one and the same substance For you have a clear conception of them as two substances which not only do not entail one another but are actually incompatible AT V 163 CSM II 345 As noted above Descartes conjectured that Regius was trying to defend the view that the mind is a mode of the body This is on the surface an odd claim given that Regius stated on several occasions that the mind and body are distinct But he bases that claim only on Scripture not philosophical argument Descartes held that the citation of Scripture is inappropriate in this case since the question lies in the range of competence of natural reason In his comment on Article 6 Descartes speculates that the appeal to Scripture is aimed at satisfying in some way his more simple minded readers and fellow theologians AT VIIIB 356 CSM I 302 Skepticism About Bodies Article 9 gives a reason for skepticism about the existence of bodies that the mind can be affected by imaginary things just as much as real things Descartes notes that this is a reason to be skeptical only if the mind lacks the ability to distinguish between the two kinds of affection Such a deficiency would indicate that the human mind has no more power than a brute animal But humans have the light of reason which can be used to make the distinction Descartes in fact has explained how this is done presumably in the Sixth Meditation and my account is so exact that I am confident that no one who has read it and is capable of understanding it can possibly be skeptical about it AT VIIIB 357 CSM I 303 G J Mattey s Lecture Notes Continents on a Certain Broadsheet 5 The Origin of Ideas Regius claims that the mind needs no innate ideas notions or axioms because its faculty of thinking is all it needs for performing its own acts Article 12 Descartes seems to agree with Regius on this point and to reduce innate ideas to what come solely from the power of thinking and not from anything external This would distinguish them from adventitious ideas Further they can be distinguished from made up ideas because the will makes a contribution to the latter An analogy is made with the innateness of susceptibility to certain diseases in a family One does not have the disease in the womb but is born with a certain faculty or tendency to contract them Although there is agreement on the nature of innate ideas Regius goes on in Article 13 to draw an extraordinary conclusion from the preceding article AT VIIIB 358 CSM I 304 Regius writes Thus all common notions which are engraved in the mind have their origin in observation of things or in verbal instruction Article 13 His reasoning seems to be that if there are no ideas with which we are born all the ideas we have come from either observation or teaching Descartes points out that Regius has overlooked the very thing he acknowledged in the previous article that the mind is capable of carrying out its own acts when thinking Why can the mind not then produce ideas of its own In fact all ideas are produced by the mind there is nothing in our ideas which is not innate to the mind or the faculty of thinking AT VIIIB 359 CSM I 304 The only exception is the judgment we make when we refer the content of our ideas to external things The reason for this claim is that the only thing that reaches the mind from bodies is motions and the ideas of these motions or figures etc are produced by the mind on the occasion of receiving motions from bodies This is especially apparent in the case of colors and other purely sensory ideas Moreover neither observation nor teaching both of which produce only motions in our bodies could account for the fact that we have common notions such as that things which are equal to a third thing are equal to each other since motions are particular but these common notions are universal and bear no affinity with or relation to the motions AT VIIIB 359 CSM I 304 5 Existence of God Regius maintains that our knowledge of God must come either from divine revelation or from observation or instruction He dismisses the argument from the idea of God to the existence of God for it is not the case that everything of which we have an explicit conception exists and the idea of God is no different from any other concept in the sense that just having an explicit conception of it does not imply its existence AT VIIIB 360 CSM I 305 Descartes denies this vigorously Verbal instruction or images of God cannot exhaust the content of the idea of God on pain of atheism and a total lack of intellect The idea of God exists within us potentially As far as the proof is concerned Descartes denies that the idea of God is not unique Necessity of existence is found only in that idea Further the idea of God is more perfect containing this superabundance of perfections in which our concept of God surpasses all others AT VIIIB 360 CSM I 305 These unique facts about the idea or God are the basis of his proofs of God s existence G J Mattey s Lecture Notes Continents on a Certain Broadsheet 6 The Faculties 0f the Mind Regius distinguishes the same two primary faculties of the mind thinking and willing as does Descartes However he commits two errors in his further classifications The first is to divide the functions of thinking into perceiving and judging Only perceiving is proper to thinking while judging which requires affirming etc is a function of the will The second is to limit perceiving to sensing remembering and imagining This leaves out the most important kind of perceiving which is perception by the pure understanding ie understanding which is not concerned with any corporeal images AT VlllB 364 CSM l 307 Without this kind of perception we can have no knowledge of God or of the human mind or of other incorporeal things Descartes can explain this omission only by assuming that Regius s thoughts on these matters are so confused that he is never aware of having a pure thought a thought which is quite distinct from any corporeal image AT VlllB 364 CSM l 307 This is a charge Descartes made against other empiricist philosophers such as Gassendi in the Fifth Objections and Replies to the Meditations Religious Skepticism The two pamphlets published by Jacques de Rives were received by Descartes as he was finishing the writing of his criticisms of Regius The first pamphlet criticizes some innovators who allow that we can deny God s existence even if we have an idea of God naturally implanted in us This claim would be an innovation because the easy route to skepticism about God s existence would be by maintaining that the idea of God is made up Descartes notes that numerous arguments are mustered by de Rives to show that there is no innate idea of God in us for example that a baby lacks it while in his mother s womb He responds emphatically that he has never claimed that innate ideas are actual or that they are some sort of forms which are distinct from our faculty of thinking AT VlllB 366 CSM l 309 So this reason for skepticism is removed As for the charge that we can deny that God exists while having an idea of God Descartes notes that in the very title of the Meditations a proof for God s existence is promised The doubts about God s existence are part of a general strategy to doubt whatever can be doubted in order to refute these doubts It is childish to say that Descartes became a temporary atheist or more precisely agnostic while at work trying to refute atheism as if he would be damned if he had died before writing the Third Meditation Further Descartes notes that even the Scriptures contain passages which seem to suggest that God is advocating the commission of actions which in fact he would condemn The second pamphlet charges that Descartes allows that God is the efficient cause of himself not just in a negative sense but also in a positive sense AT VlllB 368 CSM l 310 This is not a view Descartes has espoused anywhere Anyone who has read my writings or has any knowledge of me or at least does not think me utterly silly knows that I am totally opposed to such extravagant views AT VlllB 369 CSM l 310 Try as they might his critics will never find them in his writings Although Descartes does not mention it here this issue was also raised in the Objections and Replies G J Mattey s Lecture Notes Comments on a Certain Broadsheet 7