Reflections on Descartes Meditations

Sat 11 September 2010

So I’ve just finished Descarte’s Meditations on First Philosophy and I’m going to try put up a response to each Meditation in the next few days, as well as the objections and responses Descarte added after the initial six meditations.

I whole-heartedly accept the I have the unfair advantage of about four centuries of human advancement over Descarte, but I will try my best to level the playing field. I’ll take each meditation as a separate argument and accept(to some extent) all initial assertions Descarte makes in each meditation. So for example in the second meditation Descarte attempts to reason the existence of God and I’ll dispute any flawed reasoning he uses, within this meditation. However, he uses this existence of God to infer further claims in other meditations. For this, I’ll accept(purely for arguments sake) the existence of God as a valid assumption and attempt to dismiss again, any flawed reasoning he uses based on this assumption. To be honest, it’s a testament to the extent of Descarte’s doubt and refusal to accept but a few initial assumptions that I can do this effectively.

This for me is mostly an exercise in discovering if I can effectively detect flawed reasoning and I’d consider Descarte’s book quite a difficult one purely due to the abstract nature of the arguments(but this may be purely due to my naivety).

Category: Philosophy Tagged: descartes