Outline/Notes on Descartes:
1. Purpose - to find a firm foundation for knowledge in the sciences.
The point is purity of argumentation and derivation of truth. To remove oneself from the vagaries of experience, to ensure that bias, authority, and tradition do not infect "pure" inquiry.
Analogy: The foundation of a physical structure/The foundation of knowledge.
3. Outline of the
M I: Methodic Doubt - the abyss of uncertainty
M II: The first Certainty; the wax experiment
M III: Thoughts; Ideas; Formal and Objective Reality; God's Existence
M IV: The Origin of Error
M V: The nature of bodily existence; The Ontological Argument
M VI: Proof of a world of material things; distinction between mind and body
4. Meditation I:
Background information on scientific method; historical/social developments
Descartes' Grounds for Doubt:
Why "hyperbolic" (exaggerated) doubt?
5. Meditation II:
"I am; I exist. This much is certain."
What is the significance of this claim?
What's going on with the melting wax? (See Med. V and VI)
6. Meditation III:
7. Meditation IV:
Not in the text; brief discussion
If God is an absolutely perfect being who would give us no faculty allowing us to err, how is it possible that we do, in fact, make mistakes?
Limited intellect; unlimited free will
8. Meditation V:
Revisiting the Wax Experiment (Med. II)
The Nature of Bodily Existence/The Ontological Argument for G's Existence.
9. Meditation VI:
That material objects exist. A priori proof.
That minds and bodies are completely distinct and separate substances.