Cartesianism

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The Cartesian Method is the philosophical and scientific system of René Descartes and its subsequent development by other seventeenth century thinkers, most notably François Poullain de la Barre, Nicolas Malebranche and Baruch Spinoza. [1] Descartes is often regarded as the first thinker to emphasize the use of reason to develop the natural sciences. [2] For him, the philosophy was a thinking system that embodied all knowledge, and expressed it in this way: [3]

Science systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge

Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

René Descartes 17th-century French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist

René Descartes ; 31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650) was a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. A native of the Kingdom of France, he spent about 20 years (1629–1649) of his life in the Dutch Republic after serving for a while in the Dutch States Army of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange and the Stadtholder of the United Provinces. One of the most notable intellectual figures of the Dutch Golden Age, Descartes is also widely regarded as one of the founders of modern philosophy.

François Poullain de la Barre was an author and a Cartesian philosopher.

Contents

Aristotle and St. Augusta’s work influenced Descartes's cogito argument and there can be little doubt that they were epistemologists [4] .  Additionally, there is a remarkable similarity between Descartes’s work and that of the Scottish philosopher, George Campbell’s 1776 publication, titled Philosophy of Rhetoric. [5] In his Meditations on First Philosophy he writes, “[b]ut what then am I? A thing which thinks. What is a thing which thinks? It is a thing which doubts, understands, [conceives], affirms, denies, wills, refuses, which also imagines and feels." [6]

Cartesians view the mind as being wholly separate from the corporeal body. Sensation and the perception of reality are thought to be the source of untruth and illusions, with the only reliable truths to be had in the existence of a metaphysical mind. Such a mind can perhaps interact with a physical body, but it does not exist in the body, nor even in the same physical plane as the body. The question of how mind and body interact would be a persistent difficulty for Descartes and his followers, with different Cartesians providing different answers. [7] To this point Descartes wrote, "we should conclude from all this, that those things which we conceive clearly and distinctly as being diverse substances; as we regard mind and body to be, are really substances essentially distinct one from the other; and this is the conclusion of the Sixth Meditation." [6] Therefore, we can see that, while mind and body are indeed separate, because they can be separated from each other, but, Descartes realizes, the mind is a whole, inseparable from itself, while the body can become separated from itself to some extent, as in when one loses an arm or a leg.

Ontology

Descartes held that all existence consists in three distinct substances, each with its own essence: [7]

Epistemology

Descartes brought the question of how reliable knowledge may be obtained (epistemology) to the fore of philosophical enquiry. Many consider this to be Descartes' most lasting influence on the history of philosophy. [8]

Epistemology A branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge.

Cartesianism is a form of rationalism because it holds that scientific knowledge can be derived a priori from 'innate ideas' through deductive reasoning. Thus Cartesianism is opposed to both Aristotelianism and empiricism, with their emphasis on sensory experience as the source of all knowledge of the world. [7]

In philosophy, rationalism is the epistemological view that "regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge" or "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification". More formally, rationalism is defined as a methodology or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive".

Innatism

Innatism is a philosophical and epistemological doctrine that holds that the mind is born with ideas/knowledge, and that therefore the mind is not a "blank slate" at birth, as early empiricists such as John Locke claimed. It asserts that not all knowledge is gained from experience and the senses. Plato and Descartes are prominent philosophers in the development of innatism and the notion that the mind is already born with ideas, knowledge and beliefs. Both philosophers emphasize that experiences are the key to unlocking this knowledge but not the source of the knowledge itself. Essentially, no knowledge is derived exclusively from one's experiences as empiricists like John Locke suggested.

Deductive reasoning, also deductive logic, is the process of reasoning from one or more statements (premises) to reach a logically certain conclusion.

For Descartes, the faculty of deductive reason is supplied by God and may therefore be trusted because God would not deceive us. [7] [9] [10]

Geographical dispersal

In the Netherlands, where Descartes had lived for a long time, Cartesianism was a doctrine popular mainly among university professors and lecturers. In Germany the influence of this doctrine was not relevant and followers of Cartesianism in the German-speaking border regions between these countries (e.g., the iatromathematician Yvo Gaukes from East Frisia) frequently chose to publish their works in the Netherlands. In France, it was very popular, and gained influence also among Jansenists such as Antoine Arnauld, though there also, as in Italy, it became opposed by the Church. In Italy, the doctrine failed to make inroads, probably since Descartes' works were placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum in 1663. [11]

In England, because of religious and other reasons, Cartesianism was not widely accepted. [11] Though Henry More was initially attracted to the doctrine, his own changing attitudes toward Descartes mirrored those of the country: "quick acceptance, serious examination with accumulating ambivalence, final rejection." [12]

Notable Cartesians

Principia philosophiae, 1685 Principia philosophiae.tif
Principia philosophiae, 1685

See also

Related Research Articles

Cartesian means of or relating to the French philosopher René Descartes—from his Latinized name Cartesius. It may refer to:

<i>Cogito, ergo sum</i> philosophical proposition by René Descartes

Cogito, ergo sum is a Latin philosophical proposition by René Descartes usually translated into English as "I think, therefore I am". The phrase originally appeared in French as je pense, donc je suis in his Discourse on the Method, so as to reach a wider audience than Latin would have allowed. It appeared in Latin in his later Principles of Philosophy. As Descartes explained, "we cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt...." A fuller version, articulated by Antoine Léonard Thomas, aptly captures Descartes's intent: dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum. The concept is also sometimes known as the cogito.

Foundationalism concerns philosophical theories of knowledge resting upon justified belief, or some secure foundation of certainty such as a conclusion inferred from a basis of sound premises. The main rival of the foundationalist theory of justification is the coherence theory of justification, whereby a body of knowledge, not requiring a secure foundation, can be established by the interlocking strength of its components, like a puzzle solved without prior certainty that each small region was solved correctly.

Nicolas Malebranche philosopher

Nicolas Malebranche, Oratory of Jesus, was a French Oratorian priest and rationalist philosopher. In his works, he sought to synthesize the thought of St. Augustine and Descartes, in order to demonstrate the active role of God in every aspect of the world. Malebranche is best known for his doctrines of vision in God, occasionalism and ontologism.

Mind–body dualism Philosophical theory that mental phenomena are non-physical and that matter exists independently of mind

Mind–body dualism, or mind–body duality, is a view in the philosophy of mind that mental phenomena are, in some respects, non-physical, or that the mind and body are distinct and separable. Thus, it encompasses a set of views about the relationship between mind and matter, and between subject and object, and is contrasted with other positions, such as physicalism and enactivism, in the mind–body problem.

Antoine Arnauld French theologian, philosopher, mathematician

Antoine Arnauld was a French Roman Catholic theologian, philosopher and mathematician. He was one of the leading intellectuals of the Jansenist group of Port-Royal and had a very thorough knowledge of patristics. Contemporaries called him le Grand to distinguish him from his father.

<i>Meditations on First Philosophy</i> philosophy book by Descartes

Meditations on First Philosophy in which the existence of God and the immortality of the soul are demonstrated is a philosophical treatise by René Descartes first published in Latin in 1641. The French translation was published in 1647 as Méditations Métaphysiques. The title may contain a misreading by the printer, mistaking animae immortalitas for animae immaterialitas, as suspected by A. Baillet.

Evil demon concept in Cartesian philosophy

The evil demon, also known as malicious demon and evil genius, is a concept in Cartesian philosophy. In the first of his 1641 Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes imagines that an evil demon, of "utmost power and cunning has employed all his energies in order to deceive me." This evil demon is imagined to present a complete illusion of an external world, so that Descartes can say, "I shall think that the sky, the air, the earth, colours, shapes, sounds and all external things are merely the delusions of dreams which he has devised to ensnare my judgement. I shall consider myself as not having hands or eyes, or flesh, or blood or senses, but as falsely believing that I have all these things."

In philosophy, the Cartesian Self, part of a thought experiment, is an individual's mind, separate from the body and the outside world, thinking about itself and its existence. It is distinguished from the Cartesian Other, anything other than the Cartesian self. According to the philosopher Rene Descartes, there is a divide intrinsic to consciousness, such that one cannot ever bridge the space between one's own consciousness and that of another.

Cartesian circle potential mistake in reasoning attributed to René Descartes

The Cartesian circle is a potential mistake in reasoning attributed to René Descartes.

Port-Royal Logic, or Logique de Port-Royal, is the common name of La logique, ou l'art de penser, an important textbook on logic first published anonymously in 1662 by Antoine Arnauld and Pierre Nicole, two prominent members of the Jansenist movement, centered on Port-Royal. Blaise Pascal likely contributed considerable portions of the text. Its linguistic companion piece is the Port Royal Grammar (1660) by Arnauld and Lancelot.

Desmond M. Clarke was an author and professor of philosophy at University College Cork, in Cork, Ireland. His research interests lay predominantly in the 17th century, on such topics as the history of philosophy and theories of science - with a specific interest in the writings of René Descartes, as well as contemporary church/state relations, human rights, and nationalism. He was co-editor of the Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy series, and he has translated and written an introduction for the Penguin edition of Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy. He retired from his position as Professor of Philosophy in 2006.

French philosophy, here taken to mean philosophy in the French language, has been extremely diverse and has influenced Western philosophy as a whole for centuries, from the medieval scholasticism of Peter Abelard, through the founding of modern philosophy by René Descartes, to 20th century philosophy of science, existentialism, phenomenology, structuralism, and postmodernism.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to metaphysics:

Cartesian doubt form of methodological skepticism associated with the writings and methodology of René Descartes

Cartesian Doubt is a form of methodological skepticism associated with the writings and methodology of René Descartes. Cartesian doubt is also known as Cartesian skepticism, methodic doubt, methodological skepticism, universal doubt, systematic doubt or hyperbolic doubt.

Richard A. Watson is an American philosopher, speleologist and author.

Oleg Khoma Ukrainian philosopher

Oleg Khoma is Ukrainian historian of European philosophy, researcher, translator and commentator on 17th- and 20th-century French philosophy. Researcher of Blaise Pascal, Rene Descartes and Nicolas Malebranche.

References

  1. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cartesianism"  . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  2. Grosholz, Emily (1991). Cartesian method and the problem of reduction. Oxford University Press. ISBN   0-19-824250-6. But contemporary debate has tended to...understand [Cartesian method] merely as the 'method of doubt'...I want to define Descartes's method in broader terms...to trace its impact on the domains of mathematics and physics as well as metaphysics.
  3. Descartes, René; Translator John Veitch. "Letter of the Author to the French Translator of the Principles of Philosophy serving for a preface" . Retrieved August 2013.Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. Steup, Matthias (2018), Zalta, Edward N. (ed.), "Epistemology", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2018 ed.), Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University, retrieved 17 April 2019
  5. "BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Cogito Ergo Sum". BBC. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  6. 1 2 Descartes, Rene (1996). Meditations on First Philosophy. http://selfpace.uconn.edu/class/percep/DescartesMeditations.pdf: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. p. 10.
  7. 1 2 3 4 "Cartesianism | philosophy". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  8. Ree, Jonathan (1991). The Concise Encyclopedia of Western Philosophy and Philosophers. London: Routledge. p. 78. ISBN   0415078830.
  9. Ree, Jonathan (1991). The Concise Encyclopedia of Western Philosophy and Philosophers. London: Routledge. p. 75. ISBN   0415078830.
  10. Kelly, Anthony (2006). The Rise of Modern Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 123. ISBN   9780198752769.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Copleston, Frederick Charles (2003). A History of Philosophy, Volume 4. Continuum International. p. 174. ISBN   978-0-8264-6898-7.
  12. Lennon, Thomas M.; John M. Nicholas; John Whitney Davis (1982). Problems of Cartesianism. McGill-Queen's Press. p. 4. ISBN   978-0-7735-1000-5.
  13. Cristofolini, Paul; "Campailla, Thomas" in Biographical Dictionary of Italians - Volume 17 (1974), Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana. Retrieved 30 September 2015

Bibliography