According to the reading offered here, Descartes' use of the meditative mode of writing was not a mere rhetorical device to win an audience accustomed to the spiritual retreat. His choice of the literary form of the spiritual exercise was consonant with, if not determined by, his theory of the mind and of the basis of human knowledge. Since Descartes' conception of knowledge implied the priority of the intellect over the senses, and indeed the priority of an intellect operating independently (...) of the senses, and since, in Descartes' view, the untutored individual was likely to be nearly wholly immersed in the senses, a procedure was needed for freeing the intellect from sensory domination so that the truth might be seen. Hence, the cognitive exercises of the Meditations, modeled not on the sense- and imagination-based exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, but on the Augustinian procedure of turning away from the senses and imagination to perceive the unpicturable with the fleshless eye of the mind. In accordance with this reading, the function of Descartes' skeptical arguments is not to introduce skepticism so that it can be defeated but to aid the meditator in withdrawing the mind from the senses in order to attend to truths of the pure intellect. These truths then offer the basis for a new natural philosophy, including a new theory of the senses. (shrink)
Descartes intended to revolutionize seventeenth-century philosophy and science. But first he had to persuade his contemporaries of the truth of his ideas. Of all his publications, Meditations on First Philosophy is methodologically the most ingenuous. Its goal is to provoke readers, even recalcitrant ones, to discover the principles of “first philosophy.” The means to its goal is a reconfiguration of traditional methodological strategies. The aim of this chapter is to display the methodological strategy of the Meditations. The text’s (...) method is more subtle and more philosophically significant than has generally been appreciated. Descartes’ most famous work is best understood as a response to four somewhat separate philosophical concerns extant in the seventeenth century. Section 1 describes these. Section 2 discusses how Descartes uses and transforms them. A clearer sense of the Meditations’ methodological strategy provides a better understanding of exactly how Descartes intended to revolutionize seventeenth-century thought. (shrink)
Many critics, Descartes himself included, have seen Hobbes as uncharitable or even incoherent in his Objections to the Meditations on First Philosophy. I argue that when understood within the wider context of his views of the late 1630s and early 1640s, Hobbes's Objections are coherent and reflect his goal of providing an epistemology consistent with a mechanical philosophy. I demonstrate the importance of this epistemology for understanding his Fourth Objection concerning the nature of the wax and contend that Hobbes's (...) brief claims in that Objection are best understood as a summary of the mechanism for scientific knowledge found in his broader work. Far from displaying his confusion, Hobbes's Fourth Objection in fact pinpoints a key weakness of Descartes's faculty psychology: its unintelligibility within a mechanical philosophy. (shrink)
The Cambridge Descartes’ Meditations—A Critical Guide, a recent addition to the numerous companion texts, guidebooks, introductions and commentaries already available, aims to provide novel approaches to important themes of Descartes’ Meditations by combining contextualism and analysis (of arguments). Organized in four parts (Skepticism, Substance and Cause, Sensations, and The Human Being), the volume contains contributions from (mainly) established scholars of Early Modern Philosophy.
In early 2014, Descartes’ Meditations joined the short but select list of Western Philosophy texts that have an entire Cambridge Companion dedicated to them. (The list includes Hobbes’ Leviathan, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, Locke’s Essay, Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia, Darwin’s The Origin of Species, Plato’s Republic, and Spinoza’s Ethics. Hume’s Treatise is also expected to be added to the list before the end of the year.) To set itself apart from the many existing volumes that offer guidance (...) and clarification to the Meditations, this new collection of essays aims to prove that the Meditations is not a repository of considered, fully-articulated and spelled-out Cartesian views but rather the exposition of the process, the sequence of steps for arriving at such views. To that end, the rhetorical aspects of the Meditations are especially emphasized: who is speaking, who is spoken to, the manner in which things are phrased, the setting as well as the intended goal of (the speaker of) the Meditations are carefully scrutinized. (shrink)
The belief that humans are more than their bodies is to a large extent represented in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions by the notion of rebirth, the main difference being that the former envisages a more corporeal continuing entity than the latter. The author has studied the manner in which exposure to science at a postgraduate level impinges on belief in rebirth at universities and institutes in India and Thailand. Many Hindu and Buddhist scientists tend to believe less (...) in a reincarnating entity because of their scientific work, but Buddhists can point to their empty self doctrine, which has resonances with models of an extended self, rejecting the notion of a core self (anattā) and replacing it with a system of interdependent parts (paṭicca samuppāda), which governs previous and future lives. (shrink)
We argue that Descartes's theistic proofs in the 'Meditations' are much simpler and straightforward than they are traditionally taken to be. In particular, we show how the causal argument of the "Third Meditation" depends on the intuitively innocent principle that nothing comes from nothing, and not on the more controversial principle that the objective reality of an idea must have a cause with at least as much formal reality. We also demonstrate that the so-called ontological "argument" of the "Fifth (...) Meditation" is best understood not as a formal proof but as an axiom, revealed as self-evident by analytic meditation. (shrink)
By leveraging the case of Hindu sati, this paper elucidates the ways in which structure and culture condition suicidal behavior by way of social psychological and emotional dynamics. Conventionally, sati falls under Durkheim's discussion of altruistic suicides, or the self-sacrifice of underindividuated or excessively integrated peoples like widows in traditional societies. In light of the fact that Durkheim's interpretation was based on uneven data, nineteenth century Eurocentric beliefs, and a theoretical framework that can no longer resist modification and elaboration, (...) by reconsidering sati it is possible to sketch a new model that strengthens Durkheim's theory by making it more robust and generalizable. The following model is built on five principles. First, integration and regulation are not distinct causal forces, but overlapping contextual conditions. Second, to better explain the variation in suicidality across time and space, we must also pay attention to culture as it provides the underlying meanings of suicide that can increase the odds a person or class of persons become suicidal or are protected against suicidality. Third, structure still matters, but in many cases, the role power and power-differentials play must be considered. Fourth, understanding why and how people choose suicide depends on incorporating identity and status processes. Fifth, because the expression of social emotions like shame are patterned by structural and cultural conditions, to understand how suicidality is socioculturally patterned we must further explore the link between identity/status, social emotions, and structure and culture. (shrink)
This paper deals with transnational Hindu and Muslim movements. It rejects the common assertion that migrant communities are conservative in religious and social matters by arguing that ‘traditionalism’ requires considerable ideological creativity that transforms previous practices and discourses considerably. It suggests instead that religious movements, active among migrants, develop cosmopolitan projects that can be viewed as alternatives to the cosmopolitanism of the European Enlightenment. This raises a number of challenges concerning citizenship, integration and political loyalty for governmentality in the (...) nation-states in which these cosmopolitan projects are carried out. The paper suggests that instead of looking at religious migrants as at best conservative and at worst terrorist one should perhaps pay some attention to the creative moments in human responses to new challenges and new environments. (shrink)
The six volume Psychology ann Religion set of the International Library of Psychology explores the interface between psychology and religion, looking at aspects of religious belief and mysticism as related to the study of human consciousness. Hindu Psychology looks at the relevance of Hindu belief systems and theories of perception for the West.
The compound “Hindu philosophy” is ambiguous. Minimally it stands for a tradition of Indian philosophical thinking. However, it could be interpreted as designating one comprehensive philosophical doctrine, shared by all Hindu thinkers. The term “Hindu philosophy” is often used loosely in this philosophical or doctrinal sense, but this usage is misleading. There is no single, comprehensive philosophical doctrine shared by all Hindus that distinguishes their view from contrary philosophical views associated with other Indian religious movements such as (...) Buddhism or Jainism on issues of epistemology, metaphysics, logic, ethics or cosmology. Hence, historians of Indian philosophy typically understand the term “Hindu philosophy” as standing for the collection of philosophical views that share a textual connection to certain core Hindu religious texts (such as the Vedas), and they do not identify “Hindu philosophy” with a particular comprehensive philosophical doctrine. -/- Hindu philosophy, thus understood, not only includes the philosophical doctrines present in Hindu texts of primary and secondary religious importance, but also the systematic philosophies of the Hindu schools: Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, Sāṅkhya, Yoga, Pūrvamīmāṃsā and Vedānta. In total, Hindu philosophy has made a sizable contribution to the history of Indian philosophy and its role has been far from static: Hindu philosophy was influenced by Buddhist and Jain philosophies, and in turn Hindu philosophy influenced Buddhist philosophy in India in its later stages. In recent times, Hindu philosophy evolved into what some scholars call “Neo-Hinduism,” which can be understood as an Indian response to the perceived sectarianism and scientism of the West. Hindu philosophy thus has a long history, stretching back from the second millennia B.C.E. to the present. (shrink)
Jacques Maritain claims in the opening pages of Scholasticism and Politics that his distinction between individuality and personality is a universal one, and is found prominently, for example, in classical Hindu philosophy. After explaining Maritain's use of these terms, and their importance in Scholasticism and Politics, I consider the principle Upanishads and The Bhagavad Gita in order to see how true Maritain's claim might be, and what importance this might have for politics.
Descartes is widely regarded to be the father of modern philosophy and his Meditations is among the most important philosophical texts ever written. _The Routledge Guidebook to Descartes’ Meditations_ introduces the major themes in Descartes’ great book and acts as a companion for reading this key work, examining: The context of Descartes’ work and the background to his writing; Each separate part of the text in relation to its goals, meanings and impact; The reception the book received when first (...) seen by the world; The relevance of Descartes’ work to modern philosophy, it’s legacy and influence. With further reading included throughout, this text follows Descartes’ original work closely, making it essential reading for all students of philosophy, and all those wishing to get to grips with this classic work. This edition revises the earlier guidebook entitled _Descartes and the Meditations_ (2003). It has been thoroughly revised, and contains expanded treatment of the method of doubt, theory of ideas, and new discussion of Descartes' theory of vision. (shrink)
Perception is sensory awareness. Cognition is reflective awareness. Consciousness is awareness-as-such. In Indian psychology, as represented by Samkhya-Yoga and Advaita Vedanta systems, consciousness and mind are fundamentally different. Reality is the composite of being (sat), knowing (cit) and feeling (ananda). Consciousness is the knowledge side of the universe. It is the ground condition of all awareness. Consciousness is not a part or aspect of the mind. Mind is physical and consciousness is not. Consciousness does not interact with the mind, the (...) brain or any other physical objects or processes. Nor does it have any causative role in mental activity. Hence the existence of consciousness does not interfere or upset the apparently closed physical system. Mind in this view is the interfacing instrumentality that faces consciousness on one side and the brain and the rest of the physical world on the other. Mind is closely connected with the different systems of the brain. In normal perceptions, the mind takes the forms of objects via the channels of the sensory system and the processes in the brain. The forms themselves are non-conscious representations of the world of objects. The mental forms (vrittis) become conscious experiences in the light of the purusha. The vritti in sensory form is perception and with the reflection of the purusha it becomes cognition. All conscious perceptions are therefore cognitions. (shrink)
In South Asia, the period between 1100 and 1300 CE was a particularly prolific time for theorists from India's three main indigenous religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism - to articulate their views on the face-to-face gift encounter. Their gift theories shaped a cosmopolitan sensibility that shared ethical and aesthetic values that reached across regional, sectarian, and religious boundaries. This book explores the ethical and social implications of unilateral gifts of esteem, offering a perceptive guide to the uniquely South Asian (...) contributors to theoretical work on the gift. (shrink)
Los estudios sobre la fenomenología de Ortega apenas han atendido al víncunlo entre forma o estructura y campo del fenómeno. Ortega ha insistido en la formalidad del ámbito de aparición de los fenómenos, que ha vinculado con su radicalidad. La forma del ámbito emerge dentro del campo como un juego de diferencias, de la que el par superficie/ profundidad es el fundamental. En este trabajo vamos a mostrar que la formalidad del ámbito tiene un ejemplo señalado en los análisis del (...) campo visual en el horizonte de las Meditaciones. (shrink)
The concluding chapter lays down the essential conditions for any genuine understanding between East and West, which can only come through the work of those who have attained, at least in some degree, to the realization of 'wisdom uncreate' ...