The Philosophical Writings of Descartes: Volume 1

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He will see th at there can be no truth or falsity in the strict since in th ese preliminary in quiries we have managed to discover only sense except in the intellect alone, although truth and falsity often some rough precepts which appear to be innate in our minds rather than originate from the other two modes of knowing; and he will pay care fu l che product of any skill, we shou ld not immediately cry to use these heed to everything that might deceive him, in order to guard against it. Rather, we should use these precepts in the first instance co seek ouc open to men, so that he may follow one which is reliable.

There are nor with extreme care everything else whi. And as soon as he has distinguished, with respect to each rhe problems commonly set in geometry, in physics, or in other disci- individual object, between chose items of knowledge which merely fil l plines. We are at present treat ing this any lack of further k nowledge on his part is noc at all due to any lack of as one single question, which in o ur view is the first question of all that intelligence o r method, and that whatever anyone else can know, he coo sh ould be examined by means of the Rules described a bove.

This is a task is capab le of knowing, if o nl y he properly applies his mind to it. He may which everyone with the slightest love of truth ought ro undertake at often be faced with many questions which this Rule prohibits him from least once in his life, since the true instruments of knowledge and the caking up; yet, because he sees clearly that these questions are wholly entire method are involved in the investigation of the problem.

There is, l beyond the reach of the human mind, he will not regard himself as being think, nothing more foolish than presuming, as many do, to argue about more ignorant on that account. On the contrary, his very knowing that the secrets o f nature, the influence of the heavens on these lower regions, the matter in question is beyond the bounds of human knowledge will, if the prediction of future events, and so o n, without ever inquiring whether he is reasonable, abundantly satisfy his curiosity. It sho uld Now, to prevent our being in a state of permanent uncertainty about not be regarded as an arduous or even difficult cask to define the limit' of the powers of the mind, and to prevent our mental labours being the mental powers we arc conscious of possessing, since we oftc11h.

In order in thought everything in the universe, with a view to l1;1rn! For nothi ng can be so many-sided or dilfuM' l'h. AT puncruace so as ro give 1he sense. Wh:n will seem sm:p. We shall discuss less than any other. We must and easiest of matters, and dwell on them lo11g enough to acquire the therefore look at these faculties in turn, to see in whac respect each of habit of i11t11iting the truth distinctly a11d clearly.

The Philosophical Writings of Descartes Volume 1

We and deduction, on which we must, as we said, exclusi,cly rely in our shall discuss rhis part of the question by way of a sufficient enumeration acquisit. Ln this and the following Rule we shall proceed as the following Rule will make clear. In that faculties, viz.

As for composite narures comparing it with ordinary vision. If o ne tries to look ac many objects at there arc some which the intellect experiences as composite before i; one glance, one sees none of them distinctly. Likewise, if one is inclined decides to determine anything about them: but there are others which are put together by the intellect itself. All these points will be explained at 10 attend to many things at the same time in a single acr of thought, one docs so with a confused mind. In view of this, we divide natures of the latter sort into two however mi nu te and delicate.

The same is true of those who never let further classes, viz. We ohall reserve the whole of the third book matters: they become perspicacious. It is, however, :1 common failing of mortals ro rega rd what is more for an account of the larier. It is surely madness to think that tbere is more cl. But let us note, those who rcall ' do "0' method. The natural bent of my mind, I confess, is such that chegreacest pleasure I Some people of course are born with a much greater aptitude for this sore have taken in my studies has always come nor from accepting the of insight than others; but our minds can become much better equipped arguments of others bu t from discovering arguments by my own efforts.

There is, I thi nk, one point above all It was just this that attracted me to the study of the sciences while I was ochers which I must stress here, which is chat everyone should be firmly still in my youch.

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Whenever the title of a book gave promise of a new convinced that the sciences, however abstruse, arc to be deduced only discovery, before I read any further I would try and see whether perhaps I from matters which are easy and highly accessible, and not from those could achieve a similar l'Csulc by means of a certain innare discernment. And I took great care nor to deprive myself of this innoccm pleasure If, for example, I wish ro inquire whether a natu ral power can travel through a hasty reading of the book.

I shall, then used these co devise many more. In this way I carefully elaborated 4o 4 rather, reflect upon rhe local morions of bodies, since there can be my whole method, and became convinced that che method of study I had norhg in this whole area that is more readily perceivable by the senses. And I shall realize that, while a stone cannot pass instantaneously from Still, since noc all minds have such a natural disposicion to puzzle one place to another, since iris a bod y, a power similar to the one which chings our by their own exertions, the message of this Rule is that we must moves the stone musr be transmitted instanrnneously if it is to pass, in its nor take up the more difficult and arduous issues immediately, but must bare state, from one object to another.

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Number-games and any games involving arith moment, and nor rbe power as it exists in some body, such as a stone metic, and the like, belong here. It is surprising how much all these whiob carries it along. In these so mewhat trivial subjeccs the mtth11d u,11,11ly Rule Ten consists sim. For est1gatmg what others have already discovered, and methodically example, say we want to rend rncthing wri t1,11 Optics, pp.

Above conclusion unless they arc already in possession of the substance of the al l, we must guard :1ga insc wasting our ti me by making random and conclusion, i. Even though problems such deduced in the syllogism. Its sole advantage is that it sometimes enables us to explain to habituated co childish and fucil c pu rsuits rhac chereafter it would always others arguments which are already known.

It should therefore be stick to the surface of things and would be unable ro penetrate more transferred from philosophy to rhetoric.

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  7. But for all thac we must not fall into the error of those who occupy their minds exclusively wich serious and lofty issues, only to find Rule Eleven thac after much toil they gain, noc the profound science rhey desired, but If, after intuitittg a mber of simple propositions, we deduce something mere confusion. In this way we shall conceptio11 of several of them. For in this way our knowledge becomes gradually find - much sooner rhan we might expecc- that it is just as easy much more certai,,, and our m ental capacit is enormously increased.

    This is a good time to explain more clearly what was said about mental Some will perhaps be surprised that in rhis context, where we are intu ition in Rules nuee and Seven. In one passage we contrasted it with searching for ways of ma king ourselves more skilful at deducing some deduction,' and in another only with enumeration, 2 which we defined as truths on the basis o f others, we make no mention of any of the precepts an in ference draw n from many disconnected facts. But in the same with which dialccticians1 suppose th ey govern human reason. They passage we said that a simple deduction of one fact from anuthe r is prescribe certain forms of reasoning in which the conclusions follow with performed by means of intuition.

    Hut, as we have noticed, truth often slips through once, and not bit by bit. But when we think of the process of deduction as these fetters, wh ile those who employ them are left entrapped in them. In that cleverest sophi;ms hardly ever deceive anyone who makes use of his passage, then, we were justified in distinguishing intuit ion from deduc untrammelled reason; rather, it is usually rhe sophists themselves wbo tion.

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    But if we look on deduction as a completed process, as we did in 40H are led astray. Rule Seven, t hen it no longer signi6es a movement but rather the Our principal concern here is thus to guard against o ur reason's taking completion of a movement. That is why we are supposing th. Hrnt , rejecc the forms of reasoning just described as being inimical to our but not when it is complex and involved.

    When the latter i' the""'" we project. Instead we search carefully for everything which may help our call it 'cnumcrauon" or 'induction', since the intellect c..

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    Bur to make it even clearer taneously grasp it as a whole, and its cenaint ' m. All these distinctions had to be made in order co make clear the magnitude, for th is can be done only by means of an act of conceiving meaning of this Rule. Rule Nine deah only with mental intuition; Rule which simultaneously involves two of the aces just mentioned. If only the Ten only with cnumcrarion. The prcscm Rule explains cbc way in which first and the fourth magnitudes are given, it is even more difficult to intuit these two opera1ions aid and complement each other; they do this so the rwo intermediate ones, for in this case three acrs of conceiving are thoroughly rha1 they seem to coalesce into a single operation, through a simultaneously involved.

    So, as a logical consequence, it might seem even movement of thought, as it were, wh ich involves carefully intuiting one more difficult 10 find the three imennediatc magnirudes given rhe first thing and passing on at once to the others. Yet this is not the case, owing to a further reason, which is that, There is, we should point out, a twofold advantage in this fact: it although four :ices of conceiving are joined together in the present facilimes a more certain knowledge of rhe conclusion in quesrion, and it example, they can nevertheless be separated, since four is divisible by makes the mind bcucr able ro discover other truths.

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    As we have said, another number. So I om obtain the third magnirude alone on the basis conclusions which embrace more than we can grasp in a single intuition of the first and the fifth, then the second on rhe basis of the first and depend for their cenainty on memory, and since memory is weak and the third, etc.

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    If one is used to reflecting on these and similar maners, unstable, it must be refreshed and strengthened through this continuous whenever one invesugates a new problem one will immediately recognize and repeated movement of thought. Say, for instance, in virrue of several the source of the difficulty and the simplest method for dealing with it. That is why it is necessary that I run over propositions disti11ctly; secondly, to combine1 correctly the matters under them again and aga in in my mind unti l I can pass from the first to the last investigation with what we already know, so that they too may be so quickly that memory is left with practica lly no role co play, and I seem k; ai1d thirdly, to fi11d out what things should be compared with to be inrniting the whole thing at once.

    Bur in addition we must note fJowers. As for ourselves, there are only four faculties J shall be struck by the following points.

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    It is just as easy for me co which we can use for this purpose, viz. It is of course only the intellect rhat is capable of between the second and the third, the third and fourth, etc. But it is more difficult for me pcrccption and memory if we are not to omit anything which lies wi thin co form a simulraneous conception of the relation of the second our power. As for the objects of knowledge, it is enough if we examine magnitude to the first and the third; and it is much more difficult still to the following three questions: Whal prcscncs itself to us spontaneously?

    These considerations enable me to understand why it is that, given conclusions can be drawn from each of these? This seems co me to be a only the first and second magnitudes, I can easily find the rhird and complete enumeration and to omit nothing which is within the range of fourth, etc. Rules for the Direction of the Mind Rule Twelve So what rroublesome consequences could there things, and what each particular faculty does; but l lack the space, I be if - while avoiding the use le. For my aim is always think on the subject - we simply make an abstraction, setting aside every to write in such a way that I make no assertions on matters which are apt feature of colou r apa rt from its possessing the character of shape, and to give rise to controversy, without first setting out the reasons which Jed conceive of the difference between white, blue, red, ere.

    But since 1 cannot do that here, it will be sufficient if I explain as briefly as possible wha t, for my purposes, is the most useful way of conceiving everything within us which contributes to m11 knowledge of things. Of course you are not ob liged to believe chat rhings are as I suggest. Bue what is to prevent you from following these suppositions if it is obvious that they detract not a jot from the truth of things, but simply make everything much clearer? This is just what you do in geometry when you make certain assumptions about quantity, which in no way weaken the force of the demonstrations, even though in physics you often take a different view of the natu re of quantity.

    Let us then conceive of the ma tter in the fo llowing way. First, in so far The same can be sa id about everything perceivable by the senses, since as our external senses are all parts of th e body, se nse-perception, strictly it is certain that the infinite multiplicity of figures is sufficient for the speaking, is merely passive, even though our application of the senses to expression of all the differences in perceptible things.

    The Philosophical Writings of Descartes: Volume 1 The Philosophical Writings of Descartes: Volume 1
    The Philosophical Writings of Descartes: Volume 1 The Philosophical Writings of Descartes: Volume 1
    The Philosophical Writings of Descartes: Volume 1 The Philosophical Writings of Descartes: Volume 1
    The Philosophical Writings of Descartes: Volume 1 The Philosophical Writings of Descartes: Volume 1
    The Philosophical Writings of Descartes: Volume 1 The Philosophical Writings of Descartes: Volume 1
    The Philosophical Writings of Descartes: Volume 1 The Philosophical Writings of Descartes: Volume 1

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