Download Descartes (Blackwell Great Minds) by Andre Gombay PDF

By Andre Gombay

A daring and insightful departure from comparable texts, Descartes is going past the explicit institutions put on the philosopher’s principles, and explores the subtleties of his ideals.

  • An stylish, compelling and insightful advent to Descartes' lifestyles and paintings.
  • Discusses a wide diversity of his such a lot scrutinized philosophical idea, together with his contributions to common sense, philosophy of the brain, epistemology, metaphysics, the philosophy of technology, and the philosophy of faith.
  • Explores the subtleties of Descartes' probably contradictory ideals.
  • Addresses subject matters left unexamined in different works on Descartes.

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Additional info for Descartes (Blackwell Great Minds)

Sample text

Like “Plato’s Forms,” “Descartes’ Evil Genius” is now philosophic lore; and one might wonder why. After all, unlike Descartes, we today have no worries about blasphemy. Perhaps it’s simply glamour. I take it that the most obvious difference between the deceiving God and the cunning demon is that one is well-intentioned while the other is not: God would make us see roses and blue skies where there are only colorless atoms; the demon would do the opposite. Now, sadly perhaps, it is a fact of human nature that malevolent deceivers are more interesting to spectators than benevolent ones.

In Descartes, though, the whipping has motives deeper than routine: it stems from a desire to defend the integrity of the doubt. He has to parry attacks on two fronts. On one side are what we might call the doubt-dramatizers – the (proto-Humean) critics who say that the doubt, if held seriously, is so damaging as to be incurable. But there is also the opposite side – call them the doubt-skeptics – opponents who say that, so far from being devastating and incurable, the doubt of the deceiving God is a pseudo-worry, no real ailment at all.

Still, as we read our text [G], we might want to ask: why do these insights bring Descartes greater knowledge of himself; and knowledge, to boot, that is “much more evident” (multo evidenti[or]) than his knowledge of the wax? One possible answer is that Descartes now understands more clearly how his mind works. True. But it might also be that Descartes means something more radical: he might be saying that when he looks at the wax, he is bound to have also the idea of himself, looking. Granted, he does not say so outright; yet it is difficult to put another gloss on the sentences in the middle of our text [G].

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