Descartes: An Analytical and Historical Introduction

Paperback | April 15, 2013

byGeorges Dicker

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A solid grasp of the main themes and arguments of the seventeenth-century philosopher Rene Descartes is essential for understanding modern thought, and a necessary entree to the work of the Empiricists and Immanuel Kant. It is also crucial to the study of contemporary epistemology,metaphysics, and philosophy of mind. This new edition of Georges Dicker's commentary on Descartes's masterpiece, Meditations on First Philosophy, features a new chapter on the Fourth Meditation and improved treatments of the famous cogito ergo sum and the notorious problem of the Cartesian Circle,among numerous other improvements and updates. Clear and accessible, it serves as an introduction to Descartes's ideas for undergraduates and as a sophisticated companion to his Meditations for advanced readers. The volume provides a thorough discussion of several basic issues of epistemology and metaphysics elicited from the main themes and arguments of the Meditations. It also delves into the work's historical background and critical reception. Dicker offers his own assessments of the Cartesian Doubt, thecogito, the causal and ontological proofs of God's existence, Cartesian freedom and theodicy, Cartesian Dualism, and Descartes's views about the existence and nature of the material world. The commentary also incorporates a wealth of recent Descartes scholarship, and inculcates - but does notpresuppose - knowledge of the methods of contemporary analytic philosophy.

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A solid grasp of the main themes and arguments of the seventeenth-century philosopher Rene Descartes is essential for understanding modern thought, and a necessary entree to the work of the Empiricists and Immanuel Kant. It is also crucial to the study of contemporary epistemology,metaphysics, and philosophy of mind. This new edition o...

Georges Dicker is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department at The College at Brockport, State University of New York. He is the author of Dewey's Theory of Knowing, Perceptual Knowledge: An Analytical and Historical Study, Descartes: An Analytical and Historical Introduction (First edition), Hume's Epistemology a...

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Perceptual Knowledge: An Analytical and Historical Study
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Format:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:April 15, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195380320

ISBN - 13:9780195380323

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second EditionPreface to the First EditionNote on the References and Abbreviations1. Meditation I and the Method of Doubt1. Descartes's Goal2. The Cartesian Doubt3. Is the Cartesian Doubt Self-Refuting?3.1 The Deceptiveness of the Senses3.2 The Dream Argument3.3 The Deceiver ArgumentNotes2. Meditation II: the Cogito and the Self511. Descartes's "I am thinking, therefore I exist."2. The Certainty of One's Own Thoughts3. A Problem for the Cogito4. The Substance Theory5. A Reconstruction of the Cogito based on the substance theory6. Critical Discussion of the Reconstructed Cogito6.1 The Substance Theory and the Argument from Change6.2 The Corollary6.3 The Assumption That Thoughts Are Properties6.4 The Inference to "I Exist"7. A defense of the unreconstructed cogito8. Does the unreconstructed cogito require an additional premise?9. Descartes's Conception of the Self10. Cartesian DualismNotes3. Meditation III: The Criterion of Truth and the Existence of God1. Descartes's Criterion of Truth2. The Project of Meditation III3. From the Idea of God to God3.1 The Nature of Ideas3.2 Objective Reality and Formal Reality3.3 The Core Argument3.4 The Central Argument of Meditation III: the Subargument, the Core Argument, and the Sequel4. Criticisms of Descartes's Central Argument in Meditation III4.1 The Subargument4.1.1 The precontainment principle4.1.2 Degrees of reality4.1.3 Justifying the causal maxim4.2 The Problem of the Cartesian Circle4.2.1 The restriction of the doubt to past clear and distinct perceptions defense4.2.2 The general rule defense4.2.3 The radical doubt of reason and the creation of the eternal truths4.2.4 The validation of reason4.3 A Final Criticism of the Core ArgumentNotes4. Meditation IV: Error, Freedom, and Evil1. The issues of the Fourth Meditation2. Error and the will3. Two possible objections3.1 Assenting and deciding to believe3.2 Irresistibility and freedom4. The coherence of Cartesian Freedom5. Descartes's troubling letter to Mesland6. Error and evil6.1 The problem of evil6.2 Cartesian theodicy6.3 Some critical ReflectionsNotes5. Meditation V: The Ontological Argument for the Existence of God1. Descartes's Ontological Argument2. Critique of the Ontological Argument2.1 Gaunilo's Objection2.2 Kant's Objection2.3 Further Consideration of Kant's Objection2.4 Caterus's Objection3. Some Implications for Descartes's SystemNotes6. Meditation VI: Dualism and the Material Wor1. The scope of Meditation VI2. Descartes's Proof of "The Real Distinction" between Mind and Body3. Descartes's Proof of the Material World4. Descartes on the Nature of the Material World4.1 Primary and Secondary Qualities4.2 Matter, Space, and Solidity4.3 Bodies as Substances versus Bodies as Modes of Subst5. Dualism and the Problem of Interaction6. An Assessment of Cartesian DualismNotesBibliography