Rene Descarte’s Rationalism Sample Essay

The Gallic philosopher. Rene Descartes ( 1596-1650 ) . approached cognition from rather a different stance than did John Locke. For Descartes. adult male has ultimate cognition of his ain being because he is a believing being – cogito ergo amount – “I think. therefore I am. ” Therefore the foundations of cognition consist of a set of first. “self-evident” rules. a priori rules. The head is non an empty cabinet but is filled with cosmopolitan. though non readily known. rules. Entree to these first rules is non based on “the fluctuating testimony of the senses” nor on the “blundering buildings of imaginativeness. ” Descartes distrusted centripetal grounds every bit much as he avoided undisciplined imaginativeness. The first rules are those based on “the construct which an clean and attentive head gives. ” It is conception “wholly freed from uncertainty. ” rules derived from clear and logical idea. From these first rules. other truths can be deduced by a strict application of logical regulations and maxims. Knowledge is non so much what corresponds to see but what has coherence within and among the rules and their deduced statements.

And so the deductive and rational methods are born. Descartes published his attack to knowledge in 1637. in Discourse on Method. The positivist begins with a set of premises that are hypothetically true. For case. Jericho is a community settled by people. The walls of Jericho are defensive walls. Defense is an activity for supporting something. All of these premises need non be verified by observation. need non be in fact. They need merely be hypothetically right. Implicit from these premises. a tax write-off can now be made logically. The people of Jericho have something to support. Mathematically-rigorous expressions are applied in order to get at the tax write-offs. The strength and legitimacy of the rational method is its ability to objectively believe about the natural universe and deduce statements of truth about that universe.

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“Examining attentively what I was. and seeing that I could feign that I had no organic structure and that there was no universe or topographic point that I was in. but that I could non for all that pretend that I did non be. and that on the contrary. from the really fact that I thought of doubting the truth of other things. it followed really obviously and really surely that I existed: piece on the other manus. if I had merely ceased to believe. although the remainder of what I had of all time imagined had been true. I would hold had no ground to believe that I existed ; I thereby concluded that I was a substance of which the whole kernel or nature consists in believing. and which. in order to be. needs no topographic point and depends upon no material thing ; so that this I. that is to state head. by which I am what I am. is wholly distinguishable from the organic structure. and even that is easier to cognize than the organic structure. and furthermore. that even if the organic structure were non. it would non discontinue to be all that it is. ” ( Discourse on Method. 54 ) Rene Descartes made another of import part. Descartes reasoned that if the head is capable of clear. nonsubjective thought. so it can non finally be reducible to the influences of the material universe. “Mind” and “matter” are the basic components of the existence. The specifying feature of “matter” is extension and motion. i. e. . the ownership of dimension such as clip or infinite.

The specifying feature of “mind” is thought. i. e. . the activity of thought. Regardless of the manner “matter” is extended. e. g. . straight or curved. it must be extended. Regardless of the manner “mind” thinks. e. g. . abstracting or conceive ofing. it must believe. Each is perfectly different from the other. necessitating nil but itself to be. Neither has the belongingss of the other nor is reducible to the other. yet all in the existence is reducible to one or the other. to “mind” or “matter. ” Cartesian Dualism adheres to the apprehension that the natural universe of “matter” is independent of the “mind. ” and. conversely. that the “mind” is independent of the “natural universe. ” Objectivity is therefore possible. The universe of the “other” and of “man” himself have become “objects. ” for survey. in which independent thoughts and symbolic representations of the them are possible. The “science of man” was ushered in. An challenging set of inquiries remain. Prior to Descartes. what was the nature of this relationship between humanity’s thoughts and its stuff world. if neither were understood as independent of the other?

How was this understood. articulated and acted upon in pre-Cartesians civilizations? In these pre-Cartesian civilizations. what did their symbolic representations ( thoughts embedded in linguistic communication. humanistic disciplines. and societal other patterns ) really stand for?


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