Canadian Journal of Philosophy 8 (1):59 - 78 (1978)

The problem of the Cartesian Circle has been with us ever since the publication of the Meditations. This is quite remarkable, since the error of circularity which Descartes is accused of having committed is not a subtle one but is, if there is such an error, a gigantic blunder which is not difficult to discover, which was pointed out to Descartes shortly after the Meditations appeared, and which completely undermines Descartes’ primary project, the establishment of sure and certain knowledge. It is incredible that Descartes, a slow and careful thinker with considerable philosophical talent, could have made such an obvious and egregious error. It is much more plausible that there really is no circularity in Descartes’ argument, and that the charges of circularity grow out of a misunderstanding of Descartes’ intention or of the way in which his argument progresses.The incredible, of course, is possible, and I am not proposing that the question of the circle be resolved merely by dismissing it, nor am I suggesting that the text be ignored in order to force consistency onto Descartes’ thought.
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0045-5091
DOI 10.1080/00455091.1978.10716208
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References found in this work BETA

Memory and the Cartesian Circle.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1962 - Philosophical Review 71 (4):504-511.
Descartes and the Autonomy of Reason.Peter A. Schouls - 1972 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 10 (3):307-322.
Descartes' Natural Light.John Morris - 1973 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 11 (2):169-187.
The Philosophical Works of Descartes.Elizabeth S. Haldane & G. R. T. Ross - 1914 - Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 11 (7):189-192.
The Cartesian Circle Revisited.George Nakhnikian - 1967 - American Philosophical Quarterly 4 (3):251 - 255.

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