Epistemology essay: Hume, Plato, and Descartes ..

The argument of Descartes himself that the Demon cannot deceive us about our own existence (the ) is transformed by Hume and Kant into an argument that he cannot deceive us about the existence of external things.

René Descartes - Wikipedia

Hume, David: Causation | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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The more modern versions of dualism have their origin in Descartes'Meditations, and in the debate that was consequent uponDescartes' theory. Descartes was a substance dualist. Hebelieved that there were two kinds of substance: matter, of which theessential property is that it is spatially extended; and mind, ofwhich the essential property is that it thinks. Descartes' conceptionof the relation between mind and body was quite different from thatheld in the Aristotelian tradition. For Aristotle, there is no exactscience of matter. How matter behaves is essentially affected by theform that is in it. You cannot combine just any matter with any form—you cannot make a knife out of butter, nor a human being outof paper—so the nature of the matter is a necessary conditionfor the nature of the substance. But the nature of the substance doesnot follow from the nature of its matter alone: there is no‘bottom up’ account of substances. Matter is adeterminable made determinate by form. This was how Aristotle thoughtthat he was able to explain the connection of soul to body: aparticular soul exists as the organizing principle in a particularparcel of matter.

David Hume - Information Philosopher

Descartes' conception of a dualism of substances came underattack from the more radical empiricists, who found it difficult toattach sense to the concept of substance at all. Locke, as a moderateempiricist, accepted that there were both material and immaterialsubstances. Berkeley famously rejected material substance, because herejected all existence outside the mind. In his earlyNotebooks, he toyed with the idea of rejecting immaterialsubstance, because we could have no idea of it, and reducing the selfto a collection of the ‘ideas' that constituted its contents. Finally,he decided that the self, conceived as something over and above theideas of which it was aware, was essential for an adequateunderstanding of the human person. Although the self and its acts arenot presented to consciousness as objects of awareness, we areobliquely aware of them simply by dint of being active subjects. Humerejected such claims, and proclaimed the self to be nothing more than aconcatenation of its ephemeral contents.

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This entry concerns dualism in the philosophy of mind

Descartes responded to these problems differently. He explainedcognitive and moral errors as resulting from human freedom. Godprovides human beings with a will, and wills are intrinsically free. Inthis way, there is no difference in degree in freedom between God andman. But human beings have finite intellects. And because they arefree, they can choose to judge in cognitive or moral situations forwhich they do not have clear and distinct perceptions of the true orthe good. If human beings restricted their acts of will to cases ofclear and distinct perception, they would never err. But thevicissitudes of life may require judgments in less than optimalcircumstances, or we may decide to judge even though we lack a clearperception. In either case, we may go wrong.

Philosophical Dictionary: Relativism-Ryle

These contrasting views of Descartes' intellectual development suggestdifferent relations between his metaphysics and physics. Schuster(1980) treats Descartes' metaphysical arguments as a kind ofafterthought. Machamer and McGuire (2006) see Descartes' alleged“epistemic turn” and his retreat from realism as aresponse to philosophical criticism in 1641; they find more continuitybetween Descartes' Rules and his writings up to 1641 than doesGarber, or than is presented herein. On way of understanding this earlierdiscontinuity is to grant that Descartes was working on physical problems first, while emphasizing that his metaphysical insights of 1628–9allowed him to achieve a general conception of matter as having only“geometrical” properties, viz., size, shape, position, and motion.

How does David Hume refute Renee Descartes' proof that …

Scholars have proposed various schemes for dividing Descartes' lifeinto periods. This entry adopts a relatively simple division betweenthe era when mathematics provided the model for his method and theperiod after the “metaphysical turn” of 1629, when hisconception of the role of the intellect in acquiring knowledge changedand when he came to conceive the truth of his special or particularhypotheses in natural philosophy as less than certain and so assubject to the scheme of confirmation through consequences mentionedabove. In effect, he adopted a hypothetico-deductive scheme ofconfirmation, but with this difference: the range of hypotheses waslimited by his metaphysical conclusions concerning the essence of mindand matter, their union, and the role of God in creating andconserving the universe. Consequently, some hypotheses, such as the“substantial forms” of scholastics, were ruledout. Argumentative differences among the World,Discourse, and Meditations and Principlesmay then be seen as arising from the fact that in the 1630s Descarteshad not yet presented his metaphysics and so adopted an empirical modeof justification, whereas after 1641 he could appeal to his publishedmetaphysics in seeking to secure the general framework of hisphysics.