Descartes' fatal flaw

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VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Fri 5 Mar, 2010 07:28 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;136726 wrote:
That's not at all the argument. The argument is about what Descartes meant by his title. Not how we say the names of his works. I think we should (when it makes a real difference, as it does in this case) that we should say the names of his works correctly, because unless we do, we will not understand what the work is supposed to be about. Whether you say, "Principles" or "Principles of Philosophy" makes no difference. But whether you say, "Discourse on Method" or, "Discourse on the Method" makes a big difference.


This particular argument is (honestly) not very illuminating. I'm a little more interested in the content than how we choose to cite or say the titles (which I am sure is very fascinating to some, but not to others who are acquainted with the content and the title).

I completely agree that we should say the names of Descartes works correctly. Heck, the guy put a lot of time into them. Henceforth, Discourse shall not be known by that paltry, undignified title anymore. We must now use the full title, "Discourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Well and for Seeking the Truth in the Sciences." I further suggest that instead of merely citing titles, we should also state the author, the citation numbers, the publisher, the publishers uncles favorite food, etc. LOL! But seriously though, I'm going to refer to the text in the way I am both accustomed and feel is adequate enough to reference.

But now my curiosity is peaked in regards to discourse on method (lol! last time I swear). In what way to you think this determinate article minutia ever so slightly affects the content of the book? I am dying to hear your thoughts on this since you have made such an interesting stand on this particular issue.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 5 Mar, 2010 07:44 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;136734 wrote:
This particular argument is (honestly) not very illuminating. I'm a little more interested in the content than how we choose to cite or say the titles (which I am sure is very fascinating to some, but not to others who are acquainted with the content and the title).

I completely agree that we should say the names of Descartes works correctly. Heck, the guy put a lot of time into them. Henceforth, Discourse shall not be known by that paltry, undignified title anymore. We must now use the full title, "Discourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Well and for Seeking the Truth in the Sciences." I further suggest that instead of merely citing titles, we should also state the author, the citation numbers, the publisher, the publishers uncles favorite food, etc. LOL! But seriously though, I'm going to refer to the text in the way I am both accustomed and feel is adequate enough to reference.

But now my curiosity is peaked in regards to discourse on method (lol! last time I swear). In what way to you think this determinate article minutia ever so slightly affects the content of the book? I am dying to hear your thoughts on this since you have made such an interesting stand on this particular issue.


It is not just that The Discourse on Method is not the correct title of the book. It is that it makes no sense in terms of the book. It would be like calling a book on algebra a book about mathematics in general. That is not just an incorrect title. It is wrong.

The book is about a particular kind of method with a particular kind of goal. Not a book simply on method as such. That would be a different book.

Suppose you picked up a guide that was supposed to tell you how to get from New York City to Montreal, and, in fact, the book was just about how to travel. Wouldn't you feel cheated? So the book in French is "How to get from New York to Montreal", and the translation of the title is, "How to travel from one place to another". Do you think that would just be a controversy on how to say the title of the book?
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Fri 5 Mar, 2010 08:25 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;136740 wrote:
It is not just that The Discourse on Method is not the correct title of the book. It is that it makes no sense in terms of the book. It would be like calling a book on algebra a book about mathematics in general. That is not just an incorrect title. It is wrong.

Honestly, it makes perfect sense. I suppose it all depends on whether or not you read the book (or not) to realize that a particular method is being introduced. Besides that, it seems as though you differentiate the method from method in general. In what sense do you mean? In fact, how would you describe Descartes methodology to begin with to necessitate your claim?
kennethamy;136740 wrote:
The book is about a particular kind of method with a particular kind of goal. Not a book simply on method as such. That would be a different book.

Is it? The full title seems to suggest otherwise, not to mention the content of the book.
kennethamy;136740 wrote:
Suppose you picked up a guide that was supposed to tell you how to get from New York City to Montreal, and, in fact, the book was just about how to travel. Wouldn't you feel cheated? So the book in French is "How to get from New York to Montreal", and the translation of the title is, "How to travel from one place to another". Do you think that would just be a controversy on how to say the title of the book?

If this is the case, how would it not be only correct to say the entire title of the book, "Discourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Well and for Seeking the Truth in the Sciences." rather than Discourse on the Method?

And I still say that this is a hilarious conversation since its the title of the book rather than the content that we are discussing. Why the content is being avoided is questionable.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 01:54 am
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;136764 wrote:
And I still say that this is a hilarious conversation since its the title of the book rather than the content that we are discussing. Why the content is being avoided is questionable.


What makes you think the contents are avoided? What contents have you in mind?
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 06:29 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;136817 wrote:
What makes you think the contents are avoided? What contents have you in mind?

Perhaps the method (or more interestingly the methods and subsequent theories, notions, etc.) in question would be nice. Rather than bicker how to say the titles, perhaps it would be more fruitful to discuss the content of the (and just for you, every title I cite from now on is going to have the fullest citation possible),book, namely Discourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Well and for Seeking the Truth in the Sciences."rather than Discourse on MethodDiscourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Well and for Seeking the Truth in the Sciences"by Rene Descartes is besides the fact that the thread is on Meditations on First Philosophy by Rene Descartes. My bad for obliging this deviation.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 10:12 am
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;136850 wrote:
Perhaps the method (or more interestingly the methods and subsequent theories, notions, etc.) in question would be nice. Rather than bicker how to say the titles, perhaps it would be more fruitful to discuss the content of the (and just for you, every title I cite from now on is going to have the fullest citation possible),book, namely Discourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Well and for Seeking the Truth in the Sciences."rather than Discourse on MethodDiscourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Well and for Seeking the Truth in the Sciences"by Rene Descartes is besides the fact that the thread is on Meditations on First Philosophy by Rene Descartes. My bad for obliging this deviation.


Well, there is a difference between talking about method in general, and talking about some particular method. I only pointed this out. But not to avoid any discussion, It was you who seemed to want to discuss it. And, if I have anything intelligent to say about what you would like to discuss, I'll do it. In the meantime I am content to point out that there is difference between a discussion on method, and a discussion on some particular method defined by a particular goal. Descartes tells us that the method he advances is the method for attaining that particular goal, and not just any old method for attaining that goal or any other goal.

The word "the" is called the definite article, and the word, "a" is called the indefinite article for a reason.

Your heavy handed sarcasm is, how should I put it? heavy handed. But, there is, so far as I can see, so good reason for sarcasm at all. So why don't you make up your mind to be nice?
 
manored
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 11:14 am
@LittleMathYou,
LittleMathYou;136630 wrote:
Perhaps we have not found an example or situation where our most advanced arguments, logic and reason are completely useless and wrong?
If we have not found such a situation yet, then isnt it wiser to wait until we do, for then we will know what we need?

Though I dont think we ever will.

LittleMathYou;136630 wrote:
Just because it makes sense to us, does not mean it makes sense. To say that would be an assumption.
And who would judge that it does not, trully, make sense? The universe?
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 11:36 am
@manored,
kennethamy;136869 wrote:
Well, there is a difference between talking about method in general, and talking about some particular method.

The big question is Descartes method. However, the true big question should refer to Meditations though rather than this deviation.
kennethamy;136869 wrote:
I only pointed this out. But not to avoid any discussion, It was you who seemed to want to discuss it.

Duly noted then.
kennethamy;136869 wrote:

And, if I have anything intelligent to say about what you would like to discuss, I'll do it. In the meantime I am content to point out that there is difference between a discussion on method, and a discussion on some particular method defined by a particular goal. Descartes tells us that the method he advances is the method for attaining that particular goal, and not just any old method for attaining that goal or any other goal.

I suppose we all get around to things in our own due time, which is certainly not a bad thing. However, I am somewhat excited now that actual Cartesian content is starting to come out of this discussion. What exactly is Descartes method, the method you are emphasizing? And even more interesting part to discuss is exactly what particular goal Descartes is trying to attain. Discourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Well and for Seeking the Truth in the Sciences by Rene Descartes contains many goals, from metaphysics to physics, from theology to medicine.
kennethamy;136869 wrote:
The word "the" is called the definite article, and the word, "a" is called the indefinite article for a reason.

And since a part of this hilarious issue has been the inclusion of the determinate article in the title, we seem to be moving forward. Actually, I'm noticing a lot more of the faults in your post #18 that are best left alone. Seriously, this could go on for many many posts.
kennethamy;136869 wrote:

Your heavy handed sarcasm is, how should I put it? heavy handed. But, there is, so far as I can see, so good reason for sarcasm at all. So why don't you make up your mind to be nice?

You definitely do not know me very well then since what has transpired is not heavy handed sarcasm coming from me but a mild attempt to extract some sort of cogent discussion. I like to believe that all members on the forum possess the ability to discuss philosophy precisely or at least as well as they can. I suppose most of this has been your own way of meeting Descartes content. I actually (and very seriously) have to apologize to you. I can't put my standards on other members because this is above all a learning environment where everyone, no matter how high or low the level they are at, is attempting to do philosophy. It certainly isn't fair for me to do this, and I should take each member into different considerations. Descartes is a very difficult philosopher in many ways, and one has to go at one's own pace to understand him. And I also feel bad because my insistence to get to the content may be a little too insistent than it should be, and I certainly do not want to scare you away from the actual content. Descartes philosophy is wonderful to discuss and it should definitely be free of any type of intimidation.

I would however propose one thing though. If you don't enjoy discussions with me (or any other member for that matter) because of whatever reason, the best thing to do is not to become involved with them or their discussion (many times with others) in the first place. I received a response (post #9) to my own post by you, which I feel obligated to answer and pursue since it had to do with the quality of my content. However, (and this is a problem we have run into time and time again), the response which you sought to correct was part of a conversation between myself and another member (LittleMathYou). I welcome your inclusion in that conversation if you choose to take part, however I also expect that that inclusion maintain the standards that I wish to maintain within that particular conversation.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 12:49 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;136879 wrote:
The big question is Descartes method. However, the true big question should refer to Meditations though rather than this deviation.

.

Since Descartes method is most fully explained in his Discourse on the Method (as one would expect it should be, hence the title of the book) and is, at most touched on in the Meditations, if it is his method you want to discuss, it might be wiser to consider where he discussed it rather than where he does not discuss it.

I enjoy discussion with all who know something about the subject, and are willing to consider arguments which may not support their views. And, of course, those who discuss politely, and without sarcasm.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 06:04 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;136899 wrote:
Since Descartes method is most fully explained in his Discourse on the Method (as one would expect it should be, hence the title of the book) and is, at most touched on in the Meditations, if it is his method you want to discuss, it might be wiser to consider where he discussed it rather than where he does not discuss it.

Funny enough, Meditations on First Philosophy is structured in such a way that it almost functions as a showcase for the metaphysical rough draft formed in Discourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Well and for Seeking the Truth in the Sciences by Rene Descartes (in parts 3 and 4 for example). However a full explanation is just out of reach for Descartes as far as Discourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Well and for Seeking the Truth in the Sciences, because (as elaborated famously in part 5) the clear and distinct ideas reveal only a partial examination implicitly implied.

kennethamy;136899 wrote:
I enjoy discussion with all who know something about the subject, and are willing to consider arguments which may not support their views. And, of course, those who discuss politely, and without sarcasm.

I agree. I also like to discuss with those who know something about the subject and are also willing to consider arguments which may not support their views. However, I would venture to go a step further and say that as far as a discussion goes, it should go someplace and be supported with facts. However, those are best conversations rather than average conversations.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 07:29 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;137032 wrote:
Funny enough, Meditations on First Philosophy is structured in such a way that it almost functions as a showcase for the metaphysical rough draft formed in Discourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Well and for Seeking the Truth in the Sciences by Rene Descartes (in parts 3 and 4 for example). However a full explanation is just out of reach for Descartes as far as Discourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Well and for Seeking the Truth in the Sciences, because (as elaborated famously in part 5) the clear and distinct ideas reveal only a partial examination implicitly implied.




A full explanation of what, and a partial examination of what? The method? I don't think I find that anywhere in Meditations.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 08:58 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;137053 wrote:
A full explanation of what, and a partial examination of what? The method? I don't think I find that anywhere in Meditations.

A full explanation of Descartes metaphysics as far as Discourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Well and for Seeking the Truth in the Sciences is concerned. Which in essence is only partial (via Descartes own implication (L5,IV) because the text (Discourse) is but a precursor/showcase/example/etc. when considered in the light of his later text Meditations on First Philosophy.

The "general" method (doubt everything except what is clear and distinct, decompile, reconstruct what is clearest and most distinct, and enumerate) as it applies to Descartes metaphysics (examined in much more detail later in Meditations on First Philosophy) (as opposed to his notions on anatomy, physics, etc.which in turn take on unique permutations) is essentially mirrored in five-six parts of Discourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Well and for Seeking the Truth in the Science. The substantial method essentially is the framework of the entire Meditations on First Philosophy text. For example, the preoccupation with clear and distinct ideas forms a good part of the rationalistic basis of Meditations, especially when it comes to notions like the wax example, the scales of reality, etc.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 09:19 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;137068 wrote:
A full explanation of Descartes metaphysics as far as Discourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Well and for Seeking the Truth in the Sciences is concerned. Which in essence is only partial (via Descartes own implication (L5,IV) because the text (Discourse) is but a precursor/showcase/example/etc. when considered in the light of his later text Meditations on First Philosophy.

The "general" method (doubt everything except what is clear and distinct, decompile, reconstruct what is clearest and most distinct, and enumerate) as it applies to Descartes metaphysics (examined in much more detail later in Meditations on First Philosophy) (as opposed to his notions on anatomy, physics, etc.which in turn take on unique permutations) is essentially mirrored in five-six parts of Discourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Well and for Seeking the Truth in the Science. The substantial method essentially is the framework of the entire Meditations on First Philosophy text. For example, the preoccupation with clear and distinct ideas forms a good part of the rationalistic basis of Meditations, especially when it comes to notions like the wax example, the scales of reality, etc.


I think I understand most of what you are saying, although I wish you could put it more succinctly and simply, but am I supposed to conclude anything from your post? This business about universal doubt is, of course, already explained the the Discourse. Descartes only reprises it, briefly in the Meditations, and then gets down to business.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 11:26 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;137075 wrote:
I think I understand most of what you are saying, although I wish you could put it more succinctly and simply, but am I supposed to conclude anything from your post? This business about universal doubt is, of course, already explained the the Discourse. Descartes only reprises it, briefly in the Meditations, and then gets down to business.


I suppose in order to stream line the whole process, what transpires in Meditations on First Philosophy is first addressed in Discourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Well and for Seeking the Truth in the Sciences, albeit not fully. Like a (rough conceptual) trailer for a movie, the trailer being Discourse and the movie (or at least one of the movies) being Meditations. There is more to it, but that seems like a bare-bones summation.

Universal doubt is explained somewhat in Discourse, however, within the context of Discourse (roughly around the start of 2), universal doubt is used in many ways as a catalyst to further the notion of "clear and distinct" ideas (not the specific notion of doubt). This is done in Meditations, although the process is a bit different. In Meditations, is clear and distinct). I suppose it could be said that the Cartesian scientific method is being applied over and over again. Never settled, always enumerated.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 11:38 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;137105 wrote:
I suppose in order to stream line the whole process, what transpires in Meditations on First Philosophy is first addressed in Discourse on the Method for Conducting One's Reason Well and for Seeking the Truth in the Sciences, albeit not fully. Like a (rough conceptual) trailer for a movie, the trailer being Discourse and the movie (or at least one of the movies) being Meditations. There is more to it, but that seems like a bare-bones summation.

Universal doubt is explained somewhat in Discourse, however, within the context of Discourse (roughly around the start of 2), universal doubt is used in many ways as a catalyst to further the notion of "clear and distinct" ideas (not the specific notion of doubt). This is done in Meditations, although the process is a bit different. In Meditations, is clear and distinct). I suppose it could be said that the Cartesian scientific method is being applied over and over again. Never settled, always enumerated.


As Leibniz pointed out, even if the there is a divine guarantee that whatever is clear and distinct is true, and therefore, known, Descartes never explains how to decide whether an idea is clear and distinct in the first place. If Descartes had not insisted that unless we know that we know, we cannot know, then Leibniz's would not be much of a criticism. But since Descartes insists on certainty, and not just knowledge (i.e. knowing we know, not just knowing) it is a devastating criticism.
 
 

 
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