Anita's Reviews > Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy

Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy by René Descartes
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's review
Aug 28, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: 2010, philosophy

Descartes starts out in his Discourse questioning if we have have good sense, how we reason, if schooling helps us learn,and what the written word does for the mind. He doesn't answer all of these but seems to believe that knowledge leads to knowledge and that we will always question everything. He says that we need to know world history and customs in order to respect that whch is different from ourselves while being careful not to forget our own customs when removed from them.

The most important thing that can be gathered from his reflections (but I didn't need for him to tell me so)is that laws created overtime by growing civilisations may not be right for current civilisations.

He claims that design by one (true religion-Christianity I'm assuming) as opposed to design by many (science) is better.

He says that change occurs when you realize that the old ways do not work and encourages scrutinizing what you believe. Suggesting all the while that it is sometimes easier to go with the flow of a belief.

He has some rules on discerning what you know from what you do not.
1. Accept only that which you are sure of.
2. Divide difficulties to as small pieces as necessary.
3. Solve the simplest problems first.
4. Make lists, tables and diagrams.

He says that he "should regulate [his] practice comfortably to the opinions of those with whom [he] should have to live" and "obey the laws and customs of [his] country". A sell-out view. Philosophically speaking.

He claims that nothing but our own thoughts are within our power.

He tries to prove the existence of god and the soul. Here is here concept:
Question: What is "I"?
Answer: "I" is the mind. I think hence I am. I am a substance whose whole essence or natue consists only in thinking and has no need of place and is not dependent on any material thing. Which means the mind is distinct from the body.

The three things that he seems to know exists is god, the mind, and the body.

Descartes is not relevant to study and has basically no merit. Here's why. Rules 1-4. "Accept only that which you are sure of etc". Throughout the entire Discourse he is adamant about god's existence but never puts god through the same rules as everything else. While questioning "What is I" he could have been questioning also "Does god exist"?

He's faulty in his method and thought nothing that an illiterate person would not come up with on their own.

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