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After several years working on a treatise putting forth his mechanistic philosophy and physics, Descartes shelved the project when his contemporary, Galileo, was charged with heresy. That work, The World, was only published after Descartes’ death. It seems that Descartes must have had this, in part at least, in mind when writing his more famous philosophical works. This is especially clear in the Meditations, not only in the obsequiousness of the Letter of Dedication, but also in the specifi ...
 
The Discourse on Method is best known as the source of the famous quotation “cogito ergo sum”, “I think, therefore I am.” …. It is a method which gives a solid platform from which all modern natural sciences could evolve. With this work, the idea of skepticism was revived from the ancients such as Sextus Empiricus and modified to account for a truth that Descartes found to be incontrovertible. Descartes started his line of reasoning by doubting everything, so as to assess the world from a fr ...
 
The Discourse on Method is best known as the source of the famous quotation “cogito ergo sum”, “I think, therefore I am.” …. It is a method which gives a solid platform from which all modern natural sciences could evolve. With this work, the idea of skepticism was revived from the ancients such as Sextus Empiricus and modified to account for a truth that Descartes found to be incontrovertible. Descartes started his line of reasoning by doubting everything, so as to assess the world from a fr ...
 
The foundations of modern skepticism and objective thinking are thought to be rooted in the philosophy of Rene Descartes, the French mathematician, philosopher and writer. This great sixteenth century thinker also gave us theories on mind-body dualism and the concept of ethics as the highest form of science. He is considered the Father of Modern Western Philosophy. His theories also led to the emancipation of humanity from the doctrine that the Church is the sole authority over Man and led t ...
 
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Fr Francis on Hegel: "Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the last of the German idealists, was born in 1770 and died in Berlin, where he had been professor of philosophy for 13 years, in 1831. He produced his Phenomenology of Spirit when a lecturer in Jena in 1803. We find his political theory in The Philosophy of Right, published in 1821. His philosop…
 
Fr Francis on Immanuel Kant: "Thus Kant came to think that not all our ideas are derived from experience, as the Empiricists had held. Indeed, he thought that sensations and impressions do not by themselves constitute experience but require ideas in order to turn them into intelligible experience. As these ideas must precede experience they cannot …
 
Fr Francis on the British Empiricists: "While rationalism, the doctrine that knowledge is derived from the ideas of the mind, flourished on the European Continent from Descartes to Kant and Hegel, the British Isles produced their own brand of philosophy, known as empiricism, which comes from the Greek word for experience, empeiria. Empiricism is th…
 
Fr Francis on René Descartes: "In conclusion, we can ask whether Descartes' thought 'I think therefore I am' proved as much as he thought. Descartes' thought that his doubt about the existence of the world came to an end with the certainty of his own existence. But other people have thought that it proved no more than that he existed, that it led i…
 
Fr Francis: "Aquinas said 'Human beings exist on the border, in confinio, between the material and immaterial.' Thus we are a kind of microcosm of the whole world as we alone combine the material and the immaterial. We are made to get our knowledge through the senses of the body, but we can also think of things not just as they exist in matter, whi…
 
Fr Francis: "Memory was like a great treasure house in Augustine's view. One of the things we find in memory is ourselves - this is to be conscious of ourselves, when we do not forget ourselves. Thus memory came to have a second meaning in St Augustine: of self-consciousness. When I am conscious of things outside me, they are present to me, but whe…
 
Fr Francis: "A notable feature of Aristotle's natural science, which distinguishes him sharply from many of our contemporaries, is that he thought that things in nature have an end. The end of a plant or animal, for example, is to reach its perfect development. It is difficult to deny that many things in nature serve a purpose or end: Aristotle giv…
 
Fr Francis: "The dawn of philosophy, as we know it in the West, occurred in ancient Greece around the year 600 BC with Thales, one of the 7 Wise Men of Greece. But only fragments of the earliest philosophers have come down to us in the writings of others. The first philosopher from whom we have complete works is Plato, who lived from 427-347 BC and…
 
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