Cartesian reflections essays on descartess philosophy

The Cartesian mind-body dualism that is so often attacked is only a part of Descartes's account of what it is to be a thinking, sentient, human creature, and the way he makes the division between the mental and the physical is considerably more subtle, and philosophically more appealing, than is generally assumed.

Although Descartes is often considered to be one of the heralds of our modern secular worldview, the 'new' philosophy which he launched retains many links with the ideas of his predecessors, not least in the all-pervasive role it assigns to God something that is ignored or downplayed by many modern readers ; and the character of the Cartesian outlook is multifaceted, sometimes anticipating Enlightenment ideas of human autonomy and independent scientific inquiry, but also sometimes harmonizing with more traditional notions of human nature as created to find fulfilment in harmony with its creator.

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Request removal from index. Revision history. Google Books no proxy Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server Configure custom proxy use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy. Configure custom resolver. Cartesian Critters Can't Remember. Freedom and the Cogito. Andrew Benjamin - - Critical Horizons 12 3 - Grant Duncan - - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 25 4 — Season of Migration to the North Tayeb Salih. Add to basket. Mrs Dalloway Virginia Woolf.

Love in a Fallen City Eileen Chang. The Bodhicaryavatara Santideva. The Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle. Beyond Good and Evil Friedrich Nietzsche. Gorgias Plato. Introducing Philosophy Professor Robert C. Science and Religion Daniel C. The Logic Manual Volker Halbach. Bestsellers in Western Philosophy: Enlightenment. Critique of Pure Reason Immanuel Kant. Nemesis C a Bond. Hume James A. Kant's Lectures on Ethics Lara Denis.

Lost in Math Sabine Hossenfelder. The Ring of Truth Roger Scruton. Meditations Rene Descartes. The Infidel and the Professor Dennis C.

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John Cottingham: Cartesian Reflections

Friedrich Nietzsche Julian Young. God in the Enlightenment William J. The Secular Enlightenment Margaret Jacob.

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The Enlightenment Anthony Kenny. European Aesthetics Robert Wicks. Introducing Kant Christopher Kul-Want. Fichte's Ethical Thought Allen W.


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Essays in Radical Empiricism William James. Condorcet: Political Writings Steven Lukes. Hegel Contra Sociology Gillian Rose. The Dream of Enlightenment Anthony Gottlieb. The Enlightenment Mr. The Emotional Mind Stephen T. Introducing Descartes Dave Robinson. Empiricists John Locke. Kant and the Faculty of Feeling Kelly Sorensen.

Kant on Persons and Agency Eric Watkins. Essay on Transcendental Philosophy Salomon Maimon. Secularism and Hermeneutics Yael Almog. A Pocket Philosophical Dictionary Voltaire. The Philosophy of the Enlightenment Ernst Cassirer. Other books in this series. Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle. Nietzsche: Daybreak Friedrich Nietzsche. Kierkegaard: Fear and Trembling C. Moreover, something that is not hot enough cannot cause water to boil, because it does not have the requisite reality to bring about that effect. In other words, something cannot give what it does not have.

Descartes goes on to apply this principle to the cause of his ideas. This version of the Causal Adequacy Principle states that whatever is contained objectively in an idea must be contained either formally or eminently in the cause of that idea. Definitions of some key terms are now in order.

Cartesian Reflections - John Cottingham, Professor of Philosophy John Cottingham - Google книги

The idea of the sun, for instance, contains the reality of the sun in it objectively. Second, the formal reality contained in something is a reality actually contained in that thing. For example, the sun itself has the formal reality of extension since it is actually an extended thing or body. Finally, a reality is contained in something eminently when that reality is contained in it in a higher form such that 1 the thing does not possess that reality formally, but 2 it has the ability to cause that reality formally in something else.


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For example, God is not formally an extended thing but solely a thinking thing; however, he is eminently the extended universe in that it exists in him in a higher form, and accordingly he has the ability to cause its existence. The main point is that the Causal Adequacy Principle also pertains to the causes of ideas so that, for instance, the idea of the sun must be caused by something that contains the reality of the sun either actually formally or in some higher form eminently.

Once this principle is established, Descartes looks for an idea of which he could not be the cause. Based on this principle, he can be the cause of the objective reality of any idea that he has either formally or eminently. He is formally a finite substance, and so he can be the cause of any idea with the objective reality of a finite substance.

Accordingly, a finite substance is not formally but eminently a mode, and so he can be the cause of all his ideas of modes. But the idea of God is the idea of an infinite substance. This is because a finite substance does not have enough reality to be the cause of this idea, for if a finite substance were the cause of this idea, then where would it have gotten the extra reality?

But the idea must have come from something. So something that is actually an infinite substance, namely God, must be the cause of the idea of an infinite substance. Therefore, God exists as the only possible cause of this idea. Notice that in this argument Descartes makes a direct inference from having the idea of an infinite substance to the actual existence of God. He provides another argument that is cosmological in nature in response to a possible objection to this first argument. This objection is that the cause of a finite substance with the idea of God could also be a finite substance with the idea of God.

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Yet what was the cause of that finite substance with the idea of God? Well, another finite substance with the idea of God. But what was the cause of that finite substance with the idea of God? Well, another finite substance. Eventually an ultimate cause of the idea of God must be reached in order to provide an adequate explanation of its existence in the first place and thereby stop the infinite regress. That ultimate cause must be God, because only he has enough reality to cause it. The point is that this property is contained in the nature of a triangle, and so it is inseparable from that nature.

Accordingly, the nature of a triangle without this property is unintelligible. Similarly, it is apparent that the idea of God is that of a supremely perfect being, that is, a being with all perfections to the highest degree. Moreover, actual existence is a perfection, at least insofar as most would agree that it is better to actually exist than not.

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Now, if the idea of God did not contain actual existence, then it would lack a perfection. Accordingly, it would no longer be the idea of a supremely perfect being but the idea of something with an imperfection, namely non-existence, and, therefore, it would no longer be the idea of God. Hence, the idea of a supremely perfect being or God without existence is unintelligible. This means that existence is contained in the essence of an infinite substance, and therefore God must exist by his very nature. Indeed, any attempt to conceive of God as not existing would be like trying to conceive of a mountain without a valley — it just cannot be done.