David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Noûs 39 (2):309–336 (2005)
In this paper, I provide what I believe to be Descartes's own solution to the problem of the Cartesian Circle. As I argue, Descartes thinks he can have certain knowledge of the premises of the Third Meditation proof of God's existence and veracity (i.e., the 3M-Proof) without presupposing God's existence. The key, as Broughton (1984) once argued, is that the premises of the 3M-Proof are knowable by the natural light. The major objection to this "natural light" gambit is that Descartes identifies the natural light with the faculty of clear and distinct perception, a faculty that cannot be known to be reliable in advance of the 3M-Proof. I explain that Descartes distinguishes between three kinds of clear and distinction perceptions depending on their source; the senses, the imagination, or the intellect. I claim that although the First Meditation is designed to cast doubt on the clear and distinct perceptions of the senses and of the imagination, it is not designed to cast doubt on the clear and distinct perceptions of the intellect. The "natural light" gambit relies on the assumption that the natural light, by which propositions can be certainly known without presupposing knowledge of God's existence, is to be identified with the faculty of *intellectual* clear and distinct perception.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Janet Broughton (2002). Descartes' Method of Doubt. Princeton University Press.
Harry G. Frankfurt (2008/1987). Demons, Dreamers, and Madmen: The Defense of Reason in Descartes's Meditations. Princeton University Press.
James Van Cleve (1979). Foundationalism, Epistemic Principles, and the Cartesian Circle. Philosophical Review 88 (1):55-91.
Anthony Kenny (1968/2000). Descartes: A Study of His Philosophy. St. Augustine's Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Georges Dicker (1993). Descartes: An Analytical and Historical Introduction. Oxford University Press.
Michael Della Rocca (2005). Descartes, the Cartesian Circle, and Epistemology Without God. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (1):1–33.
Dale Jacquette (1996). Descartes' Lumen Naturale and the Cartesian Circle. Philosophy and Theology 9 (3-4):273-320.
Alice Sowaal (2011). Descartes's Reply to Gassendi: How We Can Know All of God, All at Once, but Still Have More to Learn About Him. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (3):419 - 449.
Sara F. García-Gómez (1988). God and Descartes' Principle of Clear and Distinct Knowledge. Philosophy Research Archives 14:283-302.
R. J. Butler (1972). Cartesian Studies. Oxford,B. Blackwell.
M. V. Dougherty (2002). The Importance of Cartesian Triangles: A New Look at Descartes's Ontological Argument. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 10 (1):35 – 62.
John Edward Abbruzzese (2008). Do Descartes and St. Thomas Agree on the Ontological Proof? Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (4):413-435.
Husain Sarkar (2003). Descartes' Cogito: Saved From the Great Shipwreck. Cambridge University Press.
Ewing Y. Chinn (1983). A Journey Around the Cartesian Circle. Philosophy Research Archives 9:279-292.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads75 ( #56,141 of 1,796,251 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #116,526 of 1,796,251 )
How can I increase my downloads?