➶ [Reading] ➸ Discours de la Méthode suivi de Méditations Métaphysiques By René Descartes ➫ – Horse-zine.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Discours de la Méthode suivi de Méditations Métaphysiques

  1. says:

    There are timesWhen all the world s asleepThe questions run so deepFor such a simple man SupertrampRELAX, folks Here, at last, is a Simple book with Simple answers for ALL us Simple, struggling souls The Meditations of Descartes was one of the KEY books in my life I read it to make my thinking clearer and, in time, it worked It s nice to have solid earth beneath my feet for a change My first really close reading was nearly forty years ago, at a time when I was learning about the practice of meditation in daily life This book said it far better than any of the occult and transcendental books that are out there And yet its ideas are identical in essence to Buddhist theory How so Buddha said there are three obstacles to clear thinking Passion, Agression and Ignorance And Descartes starts by dismantling Ignorance Why Because, he says, being retired from the military, he was now at an age where he could put the other two, active obstacles Passion and Agression to rest Now how many of US can say we have done that by the time we retire Very few of us, I suppose, because these two turbulent emotions help drive the economy So maybe they are tacitly encouraged But are they really necessary Here s one senior who ll tell you they just get in the way of thinking clearlyListen, once you get to my age, thinking straight s better and valuable than any kid s Saturday Night Fever And aren t these two turbulent passions at the root of our ignorance, and our confusion in public AND the two progenitors of those faceless, ugly Ringwraiths that gallop through the dark forests of our minds and our uneasy slumber Waking up is hard, but in the end produces peace of mind Unreality is easy but it s not Real Here s one simple rule Descartes uses when he begins to eliminate his ignorance Keep the Faith Don t abandon your core beliefs if you re attempting to sharpen your mind You might really NEED them some day when things become TOO clear And nothing causes confusion faster than a mental free fall through this hyped up world for the rest of your lifeHold onto something solid.Anyway, if you re thinking clearly at this point, Descartes says, tell me, what do you Really know for sure Well you know you re here.Right you, and no one else just simple, ordinary you are here You re REAL The modern media smokescreens and all those bullying attempts to get you to doubt yourself they re all gone.And you know that because you can now THINK FOR YOURSELF.That s it.Like I said, it was forty years ago when I first started to pay close attention to this little bookI knew I was being misled on many quarters back then, but I couldn t grasp the root causes.Isn t it incredible how when we re growing up we put up our own smokescreens against self knowledge Because we re the ones doing it And it s a good thing in a way It s sort of like Perseus refusing to look at the head of Medusa Sheer self preservation Common sense Don t dive off the deep end when you re just learning to swim Take it slow.But if you re a committed reader, taking your time reading and assimilating, sooner or later in your life you ll see things a lot clearly just like Descartes, who took his adjustment to the unvarnished facts of the world SLOW.And once you can think clearly, you ll be your OWN master.We can learn a lot from this 17th century dude, you know.And if you learn Descartes lessons clearly You ll never be fooled again.


  2. says:

    Very unfortunate hair notwithstanding, Rene I think, therefore I exist Descartes was one of the most influential contemplators in the history of philosophy and was instrumental in fomenting the modern modes of intellectual exploration known as deductive reasoning and the scientific method While he was certainly not alone in the wilderness championing the transformation of knowledge accumulation methods, he was definitely among the significant trail blazers dropping bread crumbs for the participants of the scientific revolution to follow.His most important contribution to this endeavor was this treatise which he penned quilled in 1637 Now for those who love to take deeps breaths, fill their mouths with a lot of words and then allow them to spill out, all smart like, in front of company, the full name of Descartes most famous work is Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One s Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences It is a treatise intended not to convey specific factual knowledge, but rather is intended to provide the methodology through which knowledge may be obtained Descartes based his search for truth on ascertaining knowledge that could be derived from first principals and created a method outlined below from which all research into scientific principals, according to Descartes, should be based He begins by saying that because so many different and contradictory theories have been set forth by learned and great men that it is impossible to trust anything that you can not verify yourself based on your own observations This skepticism of all that has come before was the cornerstone for his approach and has remained an integral component of modern scientific thinking and experimentation If you can t prove it, it didn t happen THE METHOD If you would be a real seeker after truth, you must at least once in your life doubt, as far as possible, all things In Section II of Discourse, Descartes defines the Method he will use to establish knowledge of the world It is comprised of the following four steps 1 Be skeptical of everything and do not accept anything as truth until you can be certain of its correctness and completely free from doubt The first precept was never to accept a thing as true until I knew it as such without a single doubt 2 Divide each problem into the smallest parts possible so that you can be looking at its component parts which will be the easiest to understand Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it 3 Start from most basic concept and add complexity slowly and in degrees so that you can be absolutely certain of each step along the way and 4 From your use of 1 through 3 create general rules applicable to the whole of the subject and that apply to the largest possible group Each problem that I solved became a rule, which served afterwards to solve other problems Descartes discussion of the method and its application is remarkable as a piece of insight into the mind of an intellectual juggernaut The man could think his booty off THE MORALS Following his break down of the components of the Method, Descartes goes on the in Section III of The Discourse to identify three maxims, referred to as morals, that he will adhere to in his studies 1 Obey the laws of his Country boring, yet practical 2 Be firm and resolute in the pursuit of knowledge a bit Captain Obvious but I think that is part of the point of returning to first principals and 3 Conquer self rather than fortune i.e., don t pursue truth based on your own material advantage lest you avoid a line of reasoning that may be true but would lead to a disadvantage for you In other words, truth should be your only goal Here, Descartes does a nice job describing what should be the goal of men of learning and the importance of removing your own motivations from the equation If only people would take heed of this pearl of wisdom APPLICATION OF THE METHOD In Section IV, Descartes takes his Method and his Morals and applies them to derive the basic truth of his existence expressed in the famous utterance Cogito ergo sum He also uses this section to put forth his most controversial use of his system by proving the existence of God Whew.I m glad that s settled now what s for supper This last proof is called the negotiable ontological proof of the existence of God and centers on the idea that God s existence is immediately inferable a priori from any contemplation of the idea of a supreme being Let me stave off any religious discussion at this point by simply saying that Descartes application of the method here is a tad strained and I think even he saw that as his reasoning is categorical than deductive THE REST Sections V and VI Up through the end of Section IV, I would have given this 4 or 5 stars as it was both fascinating and presented in a fashion that was easily understood and digested Section 5 and 6, comprising the half of this work, was cluttered and read like a pile of muddle It was also mostly uninteresting and concerned the difference between man and animals and the working of the human circulatory system I felt like I had stumbled into some ill advised sequel that failed to pick up the plot from the earlier work My advice skip that last two sections I think you ll be happier The meat of the work in is the first 4 sections and that is what I would recommend to anyone even remotely interested in evolution of modern scientific and philosophical thought Overall, 3.5 stars though the first four sections get a strong 4 to 5 stars.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED as long as you stop after Section IV P.S Just to spike the ball on behalf of Mr Descartes, he was also extremely influential in the field of mathematics and is considered the father of analytical geometry Impressive is it not.


  3. says:

    No pueden ser verdaderos todos nuestros pensamientos..Las almas m s grandes son capaces de los mayores vicios, as como de las mayores virtudes y los que andan muy despacio pueden llegar mucho m s lejos, si van siempre por el camino recto, que los que corren y se apartan de l.


  4. says:

    It is a fault which can been observed in most disputes, that, truth being mid way between the two opinions that are held, each side departs the further from it the greater his passion for contradiction.Back in my salad days I had a friend who taught Medieval Philosophy We wound up moving the class of such to a pub This appeared very progressive He once enlightened us with his proof of the Absence of God His premise was that God was so vast and so central God couldn t possibly share any qualities with a pint of Guinness, which was so small, so banal in the grand scheme of things Yet this pint was here, we could see it, feel it, taste it and even smell it Thus God couldn t exist.


  5. says:

    I read this at the same time as a few other friends, and I discovered that there were different ways to approach the Discourse on Method One friend preferred to read as a scientist, finding in the Discourse the beginnings of a method for proper scientific investigation a second was the philosophical reader who enjoyed Descartes demolition of his thinking and the following reconstruction of the house from the ground up, to his triumphant declaration of cogito ergo sum.As for myself, I found that the Discourse was unfolding for me as if it were a comical short story I had in my mind an image of Descartes himself as a cartoon character, a caricature of a seventeenth century French mathematician troubled by what were to me ridiculous and therefore comical doubts as to his own existence The image of Descartes sitting on the stove to keep warm, placing him on a level with the image of Diogenes in the oil barrel while working meticulously through all of his doubts and questions proved to be delightful reading I was afraid the book would be a miserable slog through a barren waste of uninteresting material, but I was happily disappointed When my class went on to other books after the Discourse on Method, I continued reading his Meditations These were even better than the Discourse itself Descartes knows that those who have no faith in God will believe the proof of His existence in the fourth part to involve circular reasoning, but this is not so Those who are willing to follow with attention the in depth explanations included in the Meditations on First Philosophy, will find the reasoning sound God exists He is no deceiver The writing is full of excellent and entertaining examples To end with something fun, here is a link to a BBC cartoon explaining Descartes discovery of the cogito ergo sum idea, I think, therefore I am look forward to re reading this again next year, and I shall be looking for the Discours de la M thode in the original French this will make my cartoon, wherein the Descartes that I envision is allowed to speak in his own French, all the better , and the Meditationes de Prima Philosophia in the original Latin.


  6. says:

    I think therefore I am Probably the most quoted philosophical reference around today But people generally don t know what it means Descartes is reputed as the Father of Modern Philosophy, the bringer of new ways of thinking, of revising our beliefs Though a blatant sexist, speciesist and bigot he was a man of his time His philosophy however was not.Imagine an evil genius, he has your brain in a jar somewhere and is manipulating it to make you believe all that you perceive around you You can see, smell, feel, taste, hear and believe all of them Descartes said that all of these senses could well be the creation of that evil genius and we have no reason to believe that the world around us it real All that Descartes could safely assume was real was his mind For if the mind was not real, how could the genius deceive you Thought is the essence of man, it s reality.Descartes believed in something known commonly as Two Substance Dualism, and academically as Cartesian Dualism This states that humans have a material and a mental substance, each being separate When the body dies the mind will survive as it is not dependant on the body, though the body needs the mind to make it human At the time this was ground breaking, and it didn t contradict Christian orthodoxy of whom Descartes was a pious believer All of this is nowadays taken for granted, this knowledge of so pivotal a change in the book of history is equally relevant today.Though not my favourite philosophy preferring works of Mill and Sartre it is none the less core stuff and should appear on every self respecting philosophers shelves.


  7. says:

    In the Discourse Descartes is charming, down to earth, and his investigation of skepticism is exciting, fun and profound at the same time That s a rare combination in philosophy, at least in my experience only Plato and Chuang Tzu come to mind as similar in this respect maybe Nietzsche, but he s such a ninny Although Descartes skepticism is arguably a borrowing from ancient philosophy, his turning it into a method of investigation appears to be original, and it was enormously important in the development of modern science as well as modern philosophy.I think his famous cogito ergo sum I think, therefore I am is flawed perception of thought proves the existence of operating consciousness, but not the existence of an individual, thinking being Hair splitting and navel gazing to some, a big deal to others But all good, clean fun The Meditations, on the other hand, is not so charming, it s often boring, and it s sometimes profound and sometimes not very It has a couple weak and fallacious arguments for the existence of God you get the impression that, after the relentless skepticism of his Discourse and the first couple meditations, and in light of Galileo s travails, he s trying to keep himself in the good graces of the Church and neither his heart or head are completely in the proofs of God and the things leading up to them At least that s the impression I get If I exist.But I m a bit hard on Rene, and he lived in hard times The Discourse, written in French, was aimed at a popular audience while the Meditations, written in Latin, was for scholars And it is substantial Speaking of Chuang Tzu, Descartes could have lifted his dreaming argument from the old sage, but it s highly unlikely he d ever heard of him and his recollection like a priori knowledge of mathematical objects is straight out of Plato s Meno This dreaming together with the evil god concept puts us in pretty shaky epistemological territory The search for anything knowable is a logical next step, but beyond that Descartes tends to build his house with quite a few cards Still, it s probably not unreasonable to say that what he accomplished was revolutionary, and that it engendered a remarkable quantity and quality of further developments for hundreds of years To be fair, Descartes mind body dualism is pretty much from Plato as well apparently he wasn t big on attribution, but so it goes.


  8. says:

    Obviously this isn t really a review, I don t think that reviewing historically significant works of philosophy is something that can really be done outside of a proper academic environment, much less by someone like me, reading these works out of curiosity This is why, what follows are just thoughts and impressions I got reading Descartes.Descartes influence on philosophy can t be understated and reading his works it is easy to see why Discourse presents a very personal project, honest and modest convictions and objectives, while Meditations showcase a very clear reasoning process It s also very easy to empathise with his condition I think Descartes was a scientist at heart, interested in studying the physical world around him and developing tools for understanding it, but met a hampering philosophical system, a legacy of thomistic scholasticism gone wild, pushed by people unsuited for philosophical or scientific arguments In this environment it is easy to see why Descartes was interested in starting tabula rasa, removing all the baggage and building his own.Descartes builds his system up from reason Disregarding any perception, as any perception might be deceived, he creates the famous minimum positive statement I think therefore I am It s interesting that he is not concerned about questions related to his ability to reason in the absence of perceptions or in the presence of false perceptions Can reasoning even take place if we separate the thinker from the world Without answering this question, can we claim that any question can be answered without the influence of a potentially illusory world These questions are answered when considering that he builds his model of thought on the scholastic one, which takes a clear separation between thinking and perceiving, but Descartes project was fundamentally moving away from that foundation.In fact this is a recurring problem from what I can tell Descartes is driven to integrate in his philosophical system a lot of necessary conclusions or premises from the system he is trying to replace This is important, because these premises would constitute the basis on which to make further useful statements about the world, having a foundation and the concepts necessary to do those, without the overburdened inheritance which would stifle philosophical or scientific investigation These necessary concepts are many, but the main ones are the existence of God and then the accuracy of perceptions thoughts about the world But in rushing to obtain these grounding concepts he uses sloppy or unconvincing arguments he reasons as someone who is aware of the truthfulness of the statements he is making because they are necessary in his project and because they have been proved sufficiently in other philosophical systems so is not really concerned with studying potential counter arguments, or various alternative paths his system might take which in a simple system as his at this point, are many only in so far as they might disambiguate what he intends to express.Because of these rushed proofs, some concepts are altered by their new significance, properties or simply role they play in his project The most central concept that Descartes uses and fundamentally changes from his predecessor is God In his philosophy, God is the linchpin used to go from making a priori true statements to true statements about the physical environment But Descartes God is not Aquinas God Scholastic tradition anchored the concept of God in the physical world, so the presence and various other essential characteristics of God would then be used to make further statements about the world Descartes reaches God by observing his own essential, fragmented qualities and seeks to determine their perfect cause Since this cause is not found in the world he concludes that it must come from God But hasn t he done a leap here He considers the virtues that are within him as finding their perfection in God, but a virtue based approach is not warranted at this point, following his strict reasoning Descartes uses here a scholastic approach taking virtues as essential, and non virtues as flawed partial forms of those virtues , an approach that is formed and argued exactly by performing deductions from God It s like Descartes flips a logic chain, but in doing so loses coherence.I think there are also some things to say about what further implications Descartes approach to God has Because God is no longer understood as related to nature, essential arguments related to God s existence can t be applied arguments from contingency and from causation are no longer admitted under Descartes method though conclusions or concepts obtained by reasoning in that way are still used by him This is because those arguments rely on making observations and reasoning about a world that is uncertain , extrinsic to the thinker, so outside Descartes philosophical game This is important, because in this way, we have lost a perspective that fundamentally separates God from the creation and simply anchored Him in our qualities Why the knowledge of the possibility of the perfection of these qualities can t be determined or at least hinted by the world we live in is not seriously discussed I think this discussion is useful to have, since it alone separates or even justifies the concept of God at this point, otherwise we might simply refer to God as the world itself and do away with the need of an idea of God altogether.As I mentioned, Descartes then uses God to justify having some belief in the authenticity of the world, by using the argument God is fundamentally good, God would not deceive me, therefore I am not deceived and am experiencing an authentic reality But what is this good that God should possess or contain Couldn t Descartes be deceived exactly by that, assuming what is good and what isn t Again, this is a different approach from his predecessors, Descartes judges the virtues of God with respect to what he is experiencing as good and bad This is a consequence of centering his philosophy on the conclusions and models of his own reason, starting from a skeptical approach of the world and therefore unable to define virtues as aspects of God s relationship to the world In Descartes approach, he is very constrained in the amount of factors that he can investigate to obtain his conclusions and it is very easy to make the argument that though this will generate a very simple model, it will also be unable to explain or to reason about very many things, so very many things will hamper it.What I really appreciated about Descartes, however, was his immense clarity and how inspiring reading him felt Because he introduces his system as profoundly personal and gradually builds it up, I felt part of that construction, building my own thoughts on the matter as I went along This quality of his work allowed philosophy to avoid the stagnation that was happening and for something new and better suited for physical discoveries to develop Descartes left both a very clear system in place, so easy to understand as well as criticize and then further improve on, as well as made sufficiently vague claims to invite copious criticism and development to take place, placing him at an essential point in the history of philosophy.


  9. says:

    Descartes was the one of the best but mostly the worst of philosophers His philosophy is extremely relevant historically but hasn t aged as well as Hume, Locke, Schopenhauer or Spinoza, mostly because it was so deeply Catholic I read this when I was about 15 and thought it was brilliant, but now, despite a few good arguments, the thing feels like a skyscraper built out of toothpicks Unlike Hume or Locke who feel fairer than the others I mentioned, since they were closer to being his contemporaries , there s not much here for us now, especially if you aren t interested in a sort of dualistic Platonism.


  10. says:

    Dude talks about robots than I would have expected There s also one point in the Discourse where he pretty forcefully tells you to close the book and not start reading again until you ve dissected a cow.


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