Cartesian Truth by Thomas C. Vinci

By Thomas C. Vinci

Daring and pioneering, this ebook makes a close historic and systematic case that Descartes's thought of data is a sublime and robust mixture of a priori, naturalistic, and dialectical parts meriting critical attention through either modern analytic philosophers and postmodern thinkers. during making this example Thomas Vinci develops a huge reinterpretation of Cartesian proposal that unlocks novel strategies to the various such a lot vexed questions in Cartesian scholarship.

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And when we [notice]35 that we are thinking things, this is a primary notion which is not derived by means of any syllogism. When someone says "I am thinking, therefore I am or exist", he does not deduce existence from thought by means of a syllogism, but recognizes it as something self-evident by a simple intuition of the mind. This is clear from the fact that if he were deducing it by means of a syllogism, he would had to have had previous knowledge of the major premise 'Everything which thinks is, or exists'; yet in fact he learns it from experiencing in his own case that it is impossible that he should think without existing.

Why should Descartes be interested in making this logical point? 42 In Meditation III, on the other hand, when Descartes says that if I do not know that there is a nondeceiving God "it seems that I can never be quite certain about anything else" (AT VII, 36; CSM II, 25), he does commit to knowing the existence of God before other things can be known for certain. But, as we have seen, that passage occurs in a context where the doubts that need to be removed by God's nondeceiving nature are doubts about whether apparent intuitions are actual intuitions, not doubts about whether actual intuitions could be false, namely, doubts about the rule of truth.

Among objects of intuition, it is these entities for which I shall reserve the term "proposition," and it is propositions that are the sole objects of judgment. However, among propositions of this form there are two variants, one proper and produced in the manner just described, the other improper and produced in several other ways. What distinguishes these two kinds of proposition is the nature of the relation between the simple nature and its subject. Descartes's case for this is developed systematically in the sixth and seventh paragraphs of Rule 12 (AT X, 422-425; GSM i, 46-48).

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