II. Descartes' Vision for a New Philosophy

This page is NOT particularly intended to be a presentation "in appreciation of Emerson."

He was in his own times, and for his own reasons, sincerely a person-of-faith whose works, as has been shown above, can be drawn on to yield many quotes very relevant not only to a demonstration of that sincere faith but also to providing some cogent input into diverse aspects of the Faith vs Reason debate.

A. Wanted a philosophy modeled on mathematics

III. The First Meditation: Descartes's Flight Into Skepticism
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Several objections were made in class.

Jan Garrett If you are planning to write a paper on a topic very close to this one, I urge you not to read beyond step (3) of the numbered argument reconstruction (about 40 lines below) until after you have worked out a fairly definite draft of your own paper based on your own encounter with Descartes, the study questions, the lectures, and your other secondary sources.

IV. The Cogito: Descartes'Fundamental Principle (Meditation II)

Descartes' hypothesis that there is an evil genius, an expremely powerful, malicious spirit, who strives to deceive him represents the most radical phase of his methodological doubt.

(7) asserts a connection between knowing and theimpossibility of error. But what connection?
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Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

After the fall of Napoleon, Fourier exiled himself to England,but returned to France when offered an important academicposition and published his revolutionary treatise on theTheory of Heat.

The greatest among you will be your servant.

Under Napoleon he was a brilliant and important teacherand historian; accompanied the French Emperor to Egypt;and did excellent service as district governor of Grenoble.

"It is poverty,not misery," replied Chuang Tzu.

Since "Fourier" analysis is in extremely common use amongapplied mathematicians, he joins the select company of theeponyms of "Cartesian" coordinates, "Gaussian" curve, and"Boolean" algebra.

(10)(12, IC) I know without doubt that I am a thinking thing .

(Like Newton, he favored a particle theory of light over thewave theory of Aristotle.)His other achievements in optics include improved lens design,an analysis of the camera obscura, Snell's Law,an early explanation for the rainbow,a correct deduction from refraction of atmospheric thickness,and experiments on visual perception.

D. The proof of the existence of God

He was a famous scholar and prolific writer,describing evolution of species, stating that the Milky Way wascomposed of stars,and mentioning conservation of mass in his writings on chemistry.

He distinguishes between “real and living doubt”(p.

He is also noted for the notion of dimensional analysis,was first to describe the Greenhouse Effect, and continuedhis earlier brilliant work with equations.