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Old 01-08-2005, 01:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Cartesian Philosophy

Anyone know anything about decartes meditiations?
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Old 01-08-2005, 01:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
zen_tom
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No, but Google was nice enough to tell me I could read it all here
 
Old 01-08-2005, 03:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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In a nutshell:

His first (and most famous law): "I think, so I am."
To come to this conclusion, he started to doubt everything; since your senses can fool you, you cannot be sure of what you see, what you feel, etc. He came to the fact that you could only be dead certain of ONE thing: your own existance. All other certainties should be extrapolated from that one fact.

His second law: God exists.
First proof: A "god" is a perfect being, therefor it possesses all quality. Existance is a quality. Therefor, God exists.
The second proof escapes me at the moment, but it was something rather twisted, if I recall correctly, you could probably find it in the link above.
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Old 01-08-2005, 08:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Kaz
The second proof escapes me at the moment, but it was something rather twisted, if I recall correctly, you could probably find it in the link above.
I belive it was that the idea of God could not have originated in us so something external (i.e. God) put it in us. In other words, we would not have the idea of God if God himself did not exist.
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Old 01-09-2005, 10:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Livia Regina
we would not have the idea of God if God himself did not exist.
Which of course is a bunch of bull because we all know that it is easy to imagine things that don't exist. Dragons, unicorns, superstrings...
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Old 01-09-2005, 11:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
zen_tom
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Easy on the superstrings there!
 
Old 01-09-2005, 03:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: Canada
Quote:
I belive it was that the idea of God could not have originated in us so something external (i.e. God) put it in us. In other words, we would not have the idea of God if God himself did not exist.
Aye, that's it.
The way he put it was, since us humans are clearly not perfect, we cannot possibly cocneive perfection. Yet, we have the conception of a perfect being: God. Since this cannot originate from us imperfect beings, it has to come from a prefect being: God.

I agree that the lenght he would go to "proof" God's existence is darn sketchy, but don't put Descartes down, he was a genius of his time. The logics behind his reasoning (especialy for his first law) is amazing, he put the logics behind philosophy to a new level. Don't be fooled by the apparent simplicity of his laws/proof when explained in a nuthsell, the whole thing IS mind-boggling (and headache inducing, too )
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Old 01-09-2005, 05:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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How serious was Descartes about his second "law"?

Although it is popular among Christian philosophers to point to Descartes statements about God, I have certainly read opinions from others that Descartes added this to his philosophy merely to avoid persecution by the church.

It certainly doesn't fit in with the rest of his ideas, it just seems stuck on as a pious afterthought. We must remember that the atmosphere at the time made it terribly dangerous to express ideas that even hinted at less than orthodox ideas about God, much less atheism. This is one reason that Descartes spent much of his life outside France, where the Catholic Church was particularly intolerant, and very dangerous to him. Descartes was eager to stay alive.

Spinoza, who was a great admirer of Descartes, was excommunicated from the Jewish community of Amsterdam because his ideas were seen as both threatening to Jewish theology of the time, and perhaps most importantly, because they might create danger for his community from the Christians.

So I don't think that Descartes' statement about God has to be taken very seriously today, as I think it interferes with our appreciation of his wisdom.
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Old 01-10-2005, 09:49 AM   #9 (permalink)
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That doesn't seem to me to be true, Darwin. God plays an important role in the Meditations -- Descartes can't get an external world without him.
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Old 01-14-2005, 08:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Kaz
First proof: A "god" is a perfect being, therefor it possesses all quality. Existance is a quality. Therefor, God exists.
That's a paper-thin proof if I've ever seen one. It relies solely on the definition of a god. I could make up my own compound, xfsdghlsdgh, and say that it possesses all qualities. It exists! OGFM!

But Descartes was a cool guy.
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Old 01-14-2005, 09:47 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drayab
Which of course is a bunch of bull because we all know that it is easy to imagine things that don't exist. Dragons, unicorns, superstrings...
The imagination is the sum of the parts of what we have experienced and observed. Dragons are lizards, dinosaurs, and fire. Unicorns are horses with horns. Superstrings...well M theory makes more sense to me, but it's not impossible. Adn both string theory and M theory are based on comparing physics to fabrics and biology.

The idea of a supreme being has existed since before language. It is *possible* that God is not a combination of other things, as parts of God are unique unto Himself. While this is far from proof, this does cancel out Dryabs claim.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darwin
Although it is popular among Christian philosophers to point to Descartes statements about God, I have certainly read opinions from others that Descartes added this to his philosophy merely to avoid persecution by the church.

It certainly doesn't fit in with the rest of his ideas, it just seems stuck on as a pious afterthought. We must remember that the atmosphere at the time made it terribly dangerous to express ideas that even hinted at less than orthodox ideas about God, much less atheism. This is one reason that Descartes spent much of his life outside France, where the Catholic Church was particularly intolerant, and very dangerous to him. Descartes was eager to stay alive.

Spinoza, who was a great admirer of Descartes, was excommunicated from the Jewish community of Amsterdam because his ideas were seen as both threatening to Jewish theology of the time, and perhaps most importantly, because they might create danger for his community from the Christians.

So I don't think that Descartes' statement about God has to be taken very seriously today, as I think it interferes with our appreciation of his wisdom.
That's an interesting, and certianally possible theory, but we won't know that till we meet Decartes in heaven. Or we won't.
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