Material Falsity and Error in Descartes' Meditations by Cecilia Wee

By Cecilia Wee

Material Falsity and mistake in Descartes’s Meditations approaches Descartes’s Meditations as an highbrow trip, in which Descartes’s perspectives increase and alter as he makes new discoveries approximately self, God and topic. the 1st booklet to concentration heavily on Descartes’s inspiration of fabric falsity, it exhibits how Descartes’s account of fabric falsity – and correspondingly his account of an important notions comparable to fact, falsehood and mistake – evolves based on the epistemic advances within the Meditations. It additionally bargains very important new insights at the an important position of Descartes’s 3rd Meditation dialogue of fabric falsity in advancing many next arguments within the Meditations.

This book is essential reading for these engaged on Descartes and early sleek philosophy. It presents an self sufficient examining on problems with perennial curiosity, similar to Descartes’s perspectives on mistakes, fact and falsehood. It additionally makes very important contributions to issues which have been the focal point of a lot contemporary scholarship, similar to Descartes’s ethics and his theodicy. these engaged on the interface among medieval and sleek philosophy will locate the discussions on Descartes’s debt to predecessors like Suárez and Augustine invaluable.

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Additional info for Material Falsity and Error in Descartes' Meditations (Routledge Studies in Seventeenth Century Philosophy)

Example text

When an idea is confused and obscure, one is uncertain whether it really represents a thing or not. So, as Descartes explains in (3), since all ideas are ‘as-if [images] of things’ (that is, purport to represent things), an idea that purports to represent a thing when it really doesn’t is materially false. Once again, the most natural reading here is to see Descartes as claiming that a materially false idea is one that represents falsely, not one that is so obscure that one does not know what it represents.

For example, (2) the ideas that I have of heat and cold contain so little clarity and distinctness that they do not enable me to tell whether cold is merely the privation of heat or vice versa, or whether both of them are real qualities, or ‘Static’ interpretations of materially false ideas 23 neither is. And (3) since there are no ideas which are not as-if of things, if it is true that cold is nothing but the privation of heat, the idea which represents it to me as something real and positive deserves to be called false, and the same goes for other ideas of this kind.

He writes: In such a cognitive situation, our judgements are at risk because, in the presence of a flawed representation, we are in the presence of materia errandi. (Wells 1984: 37) Wells’s reading of materially false ideas has the advantage that it seems to fit in nicely with the Fourth Set of Replies, where Descartes writes of a materially false idea thus: [O]wing to the fact that it is obscure and confused, I am unable to judge whether or not what it represents to me is something positive that exists outside of my sensation.

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