By Harry M. Bracken
This can be an indispensible consultant to the existence and philosophy of Rene Descartes, the most debatable figures of his age, and the founding father of glossy rational suggestion.
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Additional info for Descartes
The “resemblance” claims made by Locke fly in the face of Sextus and Montaigne’s thesis that there seems to be no way to establish a resemblance relation between perceptions and “external” things. Descartes’s failure to enshrine a resemblance relation in his discussion of ideas and extension at the end of the Second Meditation fully accords with Montaigne’s own rejection of the relation. 35 The headings of two of the six meditations make reference to God. The title of the third Meditation reads, Of God: that he exists.
There are no demonstrations that these essences map on to existent material things. More generally, as the 41 DESCARTES titles of the Meditations show, we can say that Descartes is drawing a very sharp distinction between the essence and the existence of things. The essence of the material world, extension, is the subjectmatter of geometry. It is not “in” the world of sense anymore than points, lines, and planes are. Pencil lines on paper and chalk marks on blackboards may be useful for alerting us to think about points and lines, but skill in solving problems in geometry is not a matter of having sharp pencils.
Scientists and philosophers left copies of their work with him so that others might stop by at his monastic cell and study them. Six of his acquaintances prepared criticisms of the Meditations and Descartes in turn responded to them. So one speaks of the Objections and Replies. Not often have philosophers and scientists exposed themselves to such C h a p t e r T h re e “Some evil genius (not less powerful than deceitful) has employed his whole energies in deceiving me” 25 DESCARTES penetrating and often hostile questions.