One Answer

  1. Rene Descartes (Latin variant – Cartesius) – the brightest representative of Modern philosophy, the years of his life 1596-1650.

    To begin with, it must be said that the times in which Cartesius lived and worked were not favorable for the development of philosophical and scientific knowledge.
    In 1600, it was burned in Rome.Giordano Bruno, and in the 1630s, the trials ofBy Galileo.

    All this, of course, leaves its mark on the intellectual environment, modernDescartes. However,Cartesius creates a great philosophical work -“Reflections on the first philosophy ” �(1641) (in this series you can also list his “Discourses on method “1637,” The First Principles of Philosophy “ 1644).

    Descartes was one of the first to recognize the true vocation and place of philosophy, and in the seventeenth century he proclaimed that philosophy is not a servant of theology, but an independent science.

    Now let's get down to business.
    I think that the answer to this question should first of all be based on the treatise “Reflections on the first Philosophy”, namely in this textCartesius reproduces the course of his thoughts in justifying the truth of human knowledge from its very beginning. His other philosophical works will also be read more easily in the light of “Reflections”.

    With all the external simplicity of this text and a relaxed manner of presentation, you should not relax too much when reading)

    Having realized the inadequacy of the position of the modern sciences, Descartes comes to understand the need to start building the edifice of science from the very beginning. To clear the ground for a solid foundation, the philosopher chooses the procedure of radical doubt.

    It is important to note that unlike skeptics, who were often found in France of the XVI-XVII centuries (Montaigne, for example, was one of these), doubt is not the result of Descartes ' reflections, but a point of reference.

    [Skeptics believed that knowledge is an unacceptable luxury for a person, which means that you need to give up trying to learn something and free your mind for faith]

    So Cartesius begins to doubt everything that seems certain to any average European of his time:

    1) in the existence of the world and things around me

    2) in the existence of people and of oneself (Descartes)

    3) in mathematical truths

    4) in the existence of God

    As a result of such a procedure, it seems that nothing reliable can remain. In addition, Descartes brings to the philosophical arena also a malicious demon (a methodical technique for increasing doubt), which deliberately misleads a person, leaving no chance of discovering reliable knowledge about anything. It seems almost impossible to get out of the darkness of doubt in this situation.

    But here Descartes notes that there is still one thing that cannot be questioned (even in the case of the existence of a malicious demon); this indubitable thing is our very doubt.
    Since doubt is an act of thought, Cartesius forms a new position, a new intellectual intuition:”I think, therefore I exist.”

    Then it dawns on me that thinking exists, because it alone cannot be rejected by me. I am, I exist — this is obvious. But how long have I been around? As much as I can think of. It is quite possible that if I stop having any thoughts, I will immediately disappear completely into oblivion. So I admit only what is necessarily true. Namely, I am only a thinking thing, in other words, I am mind (mens), spirit (animus), intellect, reason (ratio); all these are terms whose meaning was previously unknown to me. So, I am a true thing and truly existing; but what is this thing? I have already said that I am a thinking thing.

    In a situation of radical doubt, however, there is something absolutely certain and indubitable.

    What does Descartes mean by a “thinking thing”?
    He speaks of thinking that is abstracted from all that is sensuous, and that so far thinks only of itself.

    When Cartesius calls himself a “thinking thing,” he divides himself into two parts. On thinking (the evidence of one's own doubts and thinking) and corporeality (to corporeality he refers all the contents of human feelings: touch, sight, smell, tactile sensations, the sensation of tastes; physiological needs of a person: hunger, thirst, the desire to sleep, and so on)�

    Of the two parts indicated above, only one is the true essence of man – thinking, freed from sensuous content. And this part, according to Descartes, is given to him with the greatest evidence.

    But the validity of everything around us (the content of feelings, things around us, mathematical propositions) has not yet been restored.

    Descartes continues to develop his idea. He says that doubt is obviously imperfect in nature. But how can one understand the imperfection of a particular phenomenon, if not in the light of the idea of perfection?
    (animals, for example, are not aware of their imperfection, but simply exist: they eat, sleep, and run for their lives, and only humans can recognize their imperfection.)

    Descartes also recognizes as fair the position that the navel of an idea should be endowed with more reality than the idea itself.

    But if a person is imperfect (let me remind you that his nature consists in doubt), can he himself be the cause of the idea of perfection in himself? Of course not.

    Thus Cartesius is forced to assume the existence of some perfect being (God) who is the cause of the idea of perfection in us. It is God who has left in us the idea of perfection, just as a master leaves a mark on his beautiful product.

    So, in addition to the certainty of one's own thinking, Descartes ' idea of God also becomes reliable, and with it the very existence of an all-good and perfect God (the author of the idea of perfection in us).

    Now it's time to deal with the evil demon. The task of a demon is to constantly mislead a person. But there is much less perfection in lies and deceit than in truth. We have already established above, following Descartes, that�God is all-good. Being perfect, God simply cannot be deceitful and deceive us, therefore, God is truthful and true, and not malicious and deceitful (a demon).

    This stage of development of thought allows Descartes to “drive away” the evil demon from the philosophical arena.

    Cartesius came to the obvious already 2 propositions:

    1) the certainty of thinking and one's own thinking nature;

    2) the certainty of the existence of an all-good and true God, in the light of whose perfection it is only possible for man to discover his own nature (imperfect and doubtful, but thinking).

    Moving on.
    If God is all-good, and therefore not false, then there is no reason for him to mislead the thinker. So the external world still exists, and the content of my senses does not deceive me, thanks to the perfection of God.

    The world exists only with the proviso that the contents of our senses relate to ourselves, and not to objects. This means that when I attribute heat or color to the fire in the fireplace itself and conclude that the fire is hot and red , I am wrong. After all, the heat of fire and its color are only a reaction of the organs of my body, resulting from the impact of a certain spatial, extended object on the body. The object itself is characterized only by extension (spatiality). And with the help of the mind, I can distinguish the qualities I attribute (color, smell, shape, temperature) from the essence of the object itself.

    (in the first picture – the world through the prism of human feelings, in the second-the world perceived by thinking, the extended essence of the things of the world, schematically indicated by me in the form of stereometric figures)

    The idea of God allows Descartes to reassert the validity of all that he doubted. But Cartesius doesn't just go back to where he started. He discovers that only on the basis of pure thinking (thinking that knows about its freedom from corporeality, and with it from feelings and passions) can genuine scientific knowledge be built up. The procedure performed by the philosopher in” Reflections ” makes a person not only and not so much a passive observer of nature, its laws, and even his own experiences, but an active participant in knowledge.

    Here's what we've come to (following Carthusius):
    1) thinking is free and independent of the body
    2) extension exists according to mechanical laws (like a complex clock)
    3) a person has both a soul and a body, and therefore belongs to thinking (and in thought he is free and capable of knowing the truth), and extension (in physical capabilities – limited, can err and be subject to passions)

    If we consider the concept of Cartesius in an epistemological way, then the idea of God is the idea of Truth, reliable knowledge, achievable only by revealing a thinking nature, a soul (which is doubtful and imperfect, but reveals in itself the ability and desire for Truth and fullness of knowledge).

    And here, finally, is the answer to the question itself:
    The division into consciousness and space allows Descartes to build new principles of scientific knowledge.
    Consciousness (soul) – what is given to me with the greatest evidence, the point of support from which I can begin to move in search of the truth about the world (spatial and extended).

    Space (extension) – what is not given to me with evidence, what is necessary to doubt, what the reliability of which is built in the very last place. There is a spatial component in the person himself – this is his body. The ability to separate the body from the soul allows a person to improve and develop the ability to think. After all, not everything that interests me is the result of thinking. Passions, desires, affects-all this is a consequence of the conjugation of thinking with corporeality (a kind of greeting to the soul from the body).

    God is a Truth that is attainable, that exists in me as a constant craving for the fullness of knowledge, as just an idea. At the same time, God exists both for himself and for himself, as a genuine and complete harmony of extension and thought (as Truth in itself). It is God in Descartes ' philosophy who unites thought and extension into one whole world, in which the new scientist is able to learn and develop everything in accordance with reason.

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