By Kurt Brandhorst
Descartes' Meditations is among the first texts philosophy scholar will research, and one who many get back to repeatedly. instead of easily telling the reader what to imagine, Meditations invitations us to take a philosophical trip. This e-book prepares readers for that trip, assisting them to interact with all the meditations and suggesting methods during the tougher passages. This advisor additionally bargains scholars a clean procedure by way of bringing to lifestyles the trail of self-discovery encapsulated within the paintings, whereas preserving the emphasis on metaphysics. by means of targeting what the textual content itself has to claim, instead of what has been acknowledged approximately it by means of others, it is going to support readers in any respect degrees to find - or rediscover - why Descartes' Meditations is among the cornerstones of philosophy.
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Extra info for Descartes: meditations on first philosophy
When we say of an opinion derived from the senses that it is trustworthy, we seem to be making a claim about things in the world that correspond to these opinions. indd 38 9/4/10 14:29:35 A Guide to the Text 39 that Descartes really is sitting (in that room) by that fire. But when we shift away from the reliability of even simple opinions of experience to the reliability of mere features of those opinions we can no longer make such claims about any particular situation given in experience. Instead we are making claims about what such situations must be like.
Is the first meditation sceptical enough? In the end, while there is nothing essential brought to the discussion by ‘methodological scepticism’ that is not covered by ‘method of doubt’, a great many distractions are imported. Rather than showing how Descartes’ supposed scepticism is different from other scepticisms, therefore, it will save time if we focus on Descartes’ use of doubt. The crucial feature of Descartes’ doubt is that it is part of a method. He does not doubt because he wants to; he does not doubt because he is predisposed to being suspicious; he doubts because it is the method he has chosen to arrive at a solid starting point for his philosophy.
In this light, the staging of the doubt in the first meditation is like a trail of breadcrumbs. As we progress through the six meditations we will be able to mark our progress (in reverse) against the stages of the first meditation. Once we set about to recover the world from this self-imposed doubt, such a roadmap is crucial to the undertaking. And so, as we turn to the method of doubt we will take care to meditate on the successive stages in turn: sensory illusion, the dream argument and the various stages within dreams, and the deceiving God.
Descartes: meditations on first philosophy by Kurt Brandhorst