Descartes’ Writing • Discourse on Method (1637) • Meditations (1642)
Cartesian Epistemology • Wanted a break from scholasticism • RATIONALISM • Intuition • Understanding self-evident principles 1 + 1 = 2 • Deduction • Reasoning or inference from self-evident principles • Significance of REASON • MATH!
The Piece of Wax Our senses are unreliable—intellect tells us what is real.
Methodological Doubt • Descartes discarded all previous knowledge • Descartes’ goal: make philosophy a mathematical proof • How does Descartes know he is not being deceived? • The “evil deceiver” • “Cogito, ergo sum” • I think, therefore I am • Je pense, donc je suis
“Subjectivism” and Modern Philosophy • Descartes’ conclusions lead to a troubling conclusion: • All we can know for certain is our own existence • Our knowledge of external objects becomes problematic • Knowledge of these things is only known relative to our own minds • We are “locked in our skulls” • No more hylomorphism
Cartesian Metaphysics • Why God must exist… • Cogito only proved Descartes exists • Only God can cause our idea of a perfect God • If God exists, then we are not being tricked • The outside world must exist • Therefore, the physical world has to exist But….
The Mind-Body Problem • “Cartesian Dualism” (Metaphysical Dualism) • Mind and body are separate • Physical: occupies space, causally determined • Mental: free-thinking • How is this like Plato? How is it different? • But this raises a question… • Our bodies are subject to laws of science • Our thoughts are not
A diagram of the “pineal gland,” which Descartes believed was the point of connection between Body and Mind.
Materialism • Materialists say everything can be explained through science • Even thought? • The Turing Test (Alan Turing) • The Chinese Room (John Searle)
Free Will vs. Determinism • Do we have free will? • If God is the initial cause of all things, is that determinism? • Where does Freud fit? • And the Behaviorists? • And Newton? • And Christianity?