Philosophy (mostly Descartes)
Asked by: aj9989-ga
List Price: $20.00
09 Mar 2006 19:46 PST
Expires: 13 Mar 2006 19:01 PST
Question ID: 705602
I'm studying philosophy, mostly Descartes and I'm having a difficult time with it. What I'm looking for are answers to all four of my questions in more or less layman's terms. If you need clarification on the premesis and the conclusion for the below, I'd be happy to try and help, but I really need someone to just explain and critically evaluate the below in laymans terms. Explain Descartes' Ontological Argument (I believe it's Descartes' fifth meditation, where he discusses a supremely perfect being). Explain Descartes' argument for the conclusion that Descartes is not his body. Moreso, why is it that his second premesis does or doesn't work? Construing Leibniz as a Counterpart Theorist, evaluate his account of what sort of fact it is that Adman might not have sinned. At the beginning of Descartes' 3rd Mediation, Descates implies that he does not know that he is sitting by the fire writing. This has something to do with the sorts of bizarre skeptical scenarios broched in the first two meditations (dreaming, and the like). What does the latter have to do with the former, evaluating Descartes' tacit assumptions (the epistemic closure). $10 tip for a 4 or 5 star answer
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Re: Philosophy (mostly Descartes)
From: amber00-ga on 10 Mar 2006 14:22 PST
I hope that you aren't one of my students. Descartes' doubt that he is sitting by the fire reading is to be found in the first Meditation, not the third. In the first Meditation Descartes announces that he proposes to doubt and reject anything that is not absolutely certain. This is because he knows that some of his opinions are false. There are three waves of doubt. 1. His senses sometimes deceive him. 2. He might be dreaming that he is reading now by the fire. even so, the truths of mathematics would still be true. 3. There might not be an omnipotent God but instead a malicious evil demon who confuses all his thoughts. In the second Meditation, Descartes decides that even if there is an evil demon who confuses my thoughts there must then be a 'me' to deceive. Hence 'I think, therefore I exist. In the third Meditation Descartes proves the existence of God, so can reject the evil demon hypothesis. All thoughts that are so clear and distinct that they cannot be doubted are true. In Meditation IV, descartes explains that errors are caused by rushing to judgements before one perceives concepts clearly and distinctly. Maths is clear and distinct, therefore true. The fifth Meditation contains the Ontological argument for the existence of God. God is entirely perfect. Therefore He exists, because if he didn't then he wouldn't be perfect. Finally, in the sixth Meditation, Decartes proves that material things exist, that he is essentially a mind connected to a body (the dualist theory) and that he can tell the difference between waking and dreaming. waking periods are connected whereas dreams are not.
Re: Philosophy (mostly Descartes)
From: aj9989-ga on 11 Mar 2006 20:58 PST
amber00-ga, thank you for the clarification on the meditations. I have some basic understandings of how the meditations are formed by Descartes but I'm really looking for someone who can clarify it even further for me. For instance, why is it that the epistemic closure is controversial? From what I understand of Descartes' argument for the skeptic, it seems to make sense. Naturally, I dont like the conclusion, but I can't challenge the premeses that lead to the conclusion, except I keep getting references that the epistemic closure is where most people have a problem with the argument. Why?
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