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Descartes’ “Meditations” Rene Descartes (1596-1650) French Philosopher & Mathematician.

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Presentation on theme: "Descartes’ “Meditations” Rene Descartes (1596-1650) French Philosopher & Mathematician."— Presentation transcript:

1 Descartes’ “Meditations” Rene Descartes ( ) French Philosopher & Mathematician

2 Descartes Circle x 2 + y 2 = 9 Cartesian coordinate system “Reduce” geometry to algebra.

3 Meditations on First Philosophy 1641 Impressed by method of science & math. Disgusted by philosophy. Seek a solid foundation for beliefs: Philosophy needs a method. What can I know with absolute certainty?

4 Meditations Personal endeavor: search for certainty Like personal search for God St. Ignatius of Loyola ( ) “Spiritual Exercises” (1551)

5 Meditations Envisioned the whole process while sitting by a fire in November, 1619.

6 Meditations “The general demolition of my opinions.” Radical doubt: withhold assent from any of his beliefs that can be doubted. Architectural metaphor.

7 Four Methods of Doubt My senses can mislead me.

8 Four Methods of Doubt My senses can mislead me. I might be crazy.

9 Shakespeare, MacBeth V, v: “Life…is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

10 Four Methods of Doubt My senses can mislead me. I might be crazy. I might be dreaming.

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14 Surrealism

15 Four Methods of Doubt My senses can mislead me. I might be crazy. I might be dreaming. An evil genius might be fooling me.

16 “The Matrix”

17 Demolishing my Beliefs

18 Is anything left standing?

19 Reading for next class: Descartes’ Second Meditation


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