Flashcards in Descartes Deck (27)
The senses cannot be trusted as a source of knowledge
1: It is "prudent never to trust completelt those who have deceived us even once"
2: The senses have deceived us
C: The senses cannot be trusted
We have no way of knowing for certain if reality as a whole is a dream
1: There are two distinct realms, dream and reality
2: At times, we have "all the same experiences while asleep as madmen do while awake."
C: We have no way of knowing for certain if reality as a whole is a dream. Senses cannot be trusted.
Deductive truths are true (painting)
1: Visions that come in sleep are like paintings.
2: Paintings are fashioned in the likeness of things that are true.
3: The general elements of our visions such as geometry and arithmetic remain constant in sleep and awake.
C: Deductive truths such as maths and logic are true
It is possible that God could create a creature who is deceived
P1: There is an omnipotent God who has created us.
P2: It is in his power to create us so we are deceived, even about mathematical knowledge.
C: It is possible that God has brought it about that we are deceived, even in mathematical knowledge.
P1: God is said to be supremely good.
P2: To create a creature who is deceived would appear foreign to his goodness.
P3: However, men are often deceived.
C: It is possible that God could create a creature who is deceived.
I have reason to doubt the totality of my senses
P1: Assume that there is an evil demon who can deceive us with the same power as God can.
C: I have reason to doubt the totality of my senses. My whole life could be an illusion.
It is necessarily the case that whenever I think I am something, then I am something, I exist
P1: I consist of both a mind and a body and have sensory experiences.
P2: I can doubt the existence of my body as well as the information provided by my senses.
P3: I can doubt the authorship of my thoughts due to the possibility of a supreme deceiver.
P4: If I can doubt, and therefore convince myself of something, then I must exist, regardless of whether I am deceived.
C: It is necessarily the case that whenever I think I am something, then I am something, I exist.
D's view of the body
Whatever has a determinable shape and definable location and can occupy a space in such a way to exclude any other body (essence: extension).
-It can be perceived by touch, sight, hearing taste or smell.
-It can be moved in various ways, not by itself but whatever else comes into contact with it. This is due to the fact that the power of self-movement, like the power of sensation or of thought, was quite foreign to the body.
D's view of the soul
As an entity with several capacities, such as nutrition, movement, sense-perception and thinking.
I am a thinking thing
P1: My essence is that which I cannot separate from myself.
P2: I am able to conceive of myself as separated from my body.
P3: I cannot conceive of myself as separated from the act of thinking.
C: I am a thinking thing (‘a mind, or intelligence, or intellect, or reason’).
The mind is a better knower than the senses
Mind as a Better Knower:
P1: The senses provide us with information about things (such as wax) such as size, shape, colour and smell.
P2: The senses alone cannot lead us to an understanding of the immutable essence of things (such as ‘wax itself’).
P3: The mind can provide us with knowledge of the essence of things (such as wax being extended, flexible and changeable) by interpreting information to create understanding.
C: The mind is a better ‘knower’ than the senses.
I can know my mind with more certainty than the body
P1: The contemplation of material things does not provide me with certainty about the external world (such as the body).
P2: The act of considering material things confirms the fact that I have a mind, that I think.
P3: (Implied): Humans have privileged access to their own mind, which provide ‘distinct and evident’ truths.
C: I can know my mind with more certainty than the body.
I am distinct from my body and can exist without it
P1: Everything which I clearly and distinctly understand is capable of being created by God so as to correspond with my understanding of it.
P2: The fact that I can clearly and distinctly understand one thing apart from another is enough to make me certain that they are distinct.
P3: Implied: Things that can be separated in thought are distinct in reality.
P4: The question of what kind of power is required to bring about the separation does not affect the judgment.
P5: I have a clear idea of myself /the mind as a thinking, non-extended thing (Cogito, Sum Res Cogitans).
P6: I have a clear idea of the body as an extended, non-thinking thing.
C: I am distinct from my body and can exist without it.
The mind and the body are not the same thing 1
P1: I know my mind for certain (cogito) OR (I cannot conceive of myself without a mind)
P2: I do not know my body for certain OR (I can conceive of myself without a body).
C: The mind and the body are not the same thing.
The mind and the body are not the same thing 2
P1: The essence of the body is extension.
P2: The essence of the mind is thought.
P3: Two things that do not share essential properties are different.
C: The mind and body are not the same thing.
The basic beliefs one holds must be indubitable and necessary EVAL
Descartes' quest for certainy is problematic in the sense that our knowledge about how the mind and body functions is constantly changing, therefore even an abolsute truth is questionable.
The senses cannot be trusted as a source of knowledge EVAL
Sensory truths may be philosophically questionable but pragmatically acceptable
They are normally reliable. It may be prudent to be aware of the possibility, rather than abandon all trusts.
They can warn us of dangers, like a hot pan.
If we are searching for indubitable truths, the senses cannot provide it. But is this what we should be searching for?
Sensory data is crucial for our survival.
We have no way of knowing for certain if reality as a whole is a dream EVAL
Is there a qualitative difference between dreaming and waking? We can distinguish in retrospective.
Dreaming is very much a part of our material reality rather than a distinct realm.
Deductive truths are true EVAL
What we dream is what we have experienced, We cannot know mathematics without experiencing it.
It is possible that God could create a creature who is deceived EVAL
Predators of Chameleons are deceived, so yes this is a possibility
If we use Darwin's theory, we were not created deceived, but became so as a result of natural selection.
I have reason to doubt the totality of my senses EVAL
Thought experiment effective is doubting.
It is necessarily the case that whenever I think I am something, then I am something, I exist EVAL
Presumption of the I. We cannot infer the existence of a self through the occurance of thought. As Sam Harris argued, we are only aware of thoughts once they arise and cannot account for their authorship.
The I is a necessary illusion for our surcical.
He needs to be able to prove the at thinking things exist, othewise his argument could be considered invlaid.
I am a thinking thing EVAL
Presumption of the I
The mind is a better knower than the senses EVAL
Does seem to match the way we come to knowledge of things, first through sense data and then through reflection.
Knowledge is impossible without the senses.
To say that the mind is a better knower negates the role of the senses.
I can know my mind with more certainty than the body EVAL
He accounts for qualia in saying that only we can know the content of our minds.
Sam Harris: We are aware of thoughts, but not of the authorship.
What of the Freudian theory of the subconscious?
I am distinct from my body and can exist without it EVAL
Assumption that what he knows is distinct is created distinct.
Clark Kent and Superman.
There is no case of a mind existing without a boduy, but a body without a mind. (rock)
Problem of interaction. How can an immaterial thing cause a physical reaction?
Resistence to scientific method.
The mind and the body are not the same thing 1 EVAL
Masked man fallacy. Descartes makes an illogical leap by claiming that because he does not know the body for certain that this somehow means it is not the same as the mind. He makes an ontological conclusion (what something IS) based on an epistemological premise (whether something is KNOWN).