David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy Research Archives 13:91-128 (1987)
It has become a veritable industry to defend Descartes against the charge of circularity and, to a lesser extent, to argue that he successfully responds to the skepticism of Sextus Empiricus. Since one of Sextus’ main skeptical ploys is to press the charge of circularity against any view, and because Descartes does reply to Sextus, it is worthwhile to criticize these efforts in the same paper. I argue that Descartes did not successfully respond to Sextus’ skeptical arguments. I argue that he is guilty of not one but of five distinct circularities in his defense of empirical knowledge, thst clearing him of such charges can only be had by rendering him naively dogmatic, and that he fails to respond to a Pyrrhonisn contraposition argument. One circle concerns divine logical voluntarism. Another concerns the semantic component of innate ideas. A third arises from his natural inability to disbelieve whatever he clearly and distinctly perceives. A fourth circularity arises in Descartes’ proof that he cannot have generated his idea of God. A final circularity concerns Descartes’ attempt to verify the reliability of his thinking nature by employing that very same thinking nature. To substantiate these claims I review the principles of Sextus’ arguments briefly and I reexamine Descartes’ texts and doctrines in detail. I also take occasion to reflect on why Descartes’ foundationalist program must have failed
|Keywords||Dilemm of the Criterion Pyrrhonian Scepticism Cartesian Circularity Foundationalist epistemology|
|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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Kenneth R. Westphal (2009). Mutual Recognition and Rational Justification in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. Dialogue 48 (04):753-99.
Similar books and articles
Ernesto Sosa (1996). Cómo resolver la problemática pirrónica: lo que se aprende de Descartes. Teorema 16 (1):7-26.
Sextus (1996). The Skeptic Way: Sextus Empiricus's Outlines of Pyrrhonism. Oxford University Press.
Filip Grgic (2006). Sextus Empiricus on the Goal of Skepticism. Ancient Philosophy 26 (1):141-160.
Sextus Empiricus (2000). Sextus Empiricus: Against the Ethicists. Clarendon Press.
Daniel Vazquez (2009). Reason in Check: The Skepticism of Sextus Empiricus. Hermathena (186):43-57.
Alan Bailey (2002). Sextus Empiricus and Pyrrhonean Scepticism. Oxford University Press.
Ernest Sosa (1997). How to Resolve the Pyrrhonian Problematic: A Lesson From Descartes. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 85 (2-3):229-249.
Sextus (2000). Outlines of Scepticism. Cambridge University Press.
Christopher Kirwan (1995). Sextus Empiricus J. Annas, J. Barnes: Sextus Empiricus: Outlines of Scepticism. Pp. Xviii+249. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. Cased, £32/$54.95 (Paper, £10.95/$15.95). [REVIEW] The Classical Review 45 (02):252-253.
Ruth Weintraub (1997). The Cartesian Circle and Two Forms of Scepticism. History of Philosophy Quarterly 14 (4):365 - 377.
Harald Thorsrud (2009). Ancient Scepticism. University of California Press.
Michael Della Rocca (2005). Descartes, the Cartesian Circle, and Epistemology Without God. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (1):1–33.
Michael Della Rocca (2005). Descartes, the Cartesian Circle, and Epistemology Without God. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (1):1-33.
Guillaume Dye & Bernard Vitrac (2009). Le contre Les géomètres de sextus empiricus: Sources, cible, structure. Phronesis 54 (2):155-203.
Added to index2011-12-02
Total downloads11 ( #143,992 of 1,101,881 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #128,836 of 1,101,881 )
How can I increase my downloads?