An analysis of descartes second meditation

Descartes wax example

In Meditation 1 Descartes offered the "Demon argument" which holds that we can never know if a malicious demon is not tricking us into believing what we hold to be true. I can know about all the operations of my mind. Perhaps I can continue to exist in a dreamless, thoughtless sleep, and surely that is what common sense supposes. First, I will review Descartes' proof for the existence of God. Hence one cannot fail to be certain that one exists just when one is thinking and here comes the famous formulation of the Cogito: "I think therefore I am". I am, I exist - that is certain. I am—I exist: this is certain; but how often?

The propositions are also self-verifying. Could there be a young Santa?

Cogito in descartes meditation

And I am as certainly the same being who imagines; for although it maybe as I before supposed that nothing I imagine is true, still the power of imagination does not cease really to exist in me and to form part of my thought. But how do I know that there is not something different altogether from the objects I have now enumerated, of which it is impossible to entertain the slightest doubt? But, while I am speaking, let it be placed near the fire—what remained of the taste exhales, the smell evaporates, the color changes, its figure is destroyed, its size increases, it becomes liquid, it grows hot, it can hardly be handled, and, although struck upon, it emits no sound. The propositions 'I think' and 'I exist' both seem to be incorrigible, in Williams' sense. It is assumed in his definitions that we are dealing with contingent propositions: propositions that are not true in all possible worlds. Perception is another attribute of the soul; but perception too is impossible without the body; besides, I have frequently, during sleep, believed that I perceived objects which I afterward observed I did not in reality perceive. Descartes claims that we are conscious of our thoughts.

Since now I do not have a body, these are mere fabrications. How fair and plausible is it? That will be the conclusion.

descartes meditation 2 arguments

Not only do I know of my own existence, and essential nature. For it could be that were I totally to cease from thinking, I should totally cease to exist 27 He somewhat overstates his case here, to emphasise the point: the meditator is not denying the proposition 'I have a body', but rather refusing to assent to it, since the arguments of the First Meditation show that it is dubitable.

A proposition P is evident to me if it satisfies the following description: if P, then I believe that P.

Is there a similarity? All of these sensible qualities change, so that, for instance, it is now soft when before it was hard.

What is descartes project in the meditations

Isn't he supposed to be doubting everything but the indubitable? If Descartes' argument about his essence is correct, he will be able to argue in either direction. That tells you something about the concept of a yeti. But how do I know that there is not something different altogether from the objects I have now enumerated, of which it is impossible to entertain the slightest doubt? Let S be the proposition 'I believe he is having an affair'. That tells you something about the concept of a triangle. The proposition that 'I, Descartes, think' is also false, in those worlds. I prefer here to attend to the thoughts that sprung up of themselves in my mind, and were inspired by my own nature alone, when I applied myself to the consideration of what I was.

In this example, she believes that P; but in fact not-P is the case. What on earth is it doing here? This has implications for a broader issue that will be discussed later in the course: the question of whether there are in fact any innate ideas, whether of God or other things.

God has formal reality, in addition to merely 'objective' reality. There must be an "I" that can doubt, be deceived, and so on.

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SparkNotes: Meditations on First Philosophy: Second Meditation, Part 2: the wax argument