Study Questions for Descartes Readings

Using the link for the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy and assigned text, DescartesMeditations on First Philosophy, (Meditations I & II), answer the following questions in completesentences. 

1) There were the two fundamental ways Descartes broke with the Scholastic tradition. Thefirst has to do with the Scholastic reliance on Aristotles understanding of substantialforms being explained by final cause. What are the reasons (two) that are given for hisrefusal of the use of substantial forms as an explanation for the nature of things? Whatkind of principles are better suited to explaining the phenomena of the physicalsciences? 

2) What is the second way that Descartes broke with the Scholastics and what did hereplace their thesis about the nature of knowledge with? 

3) Explain the tree metaphor that is given by Descartes as an image of holistic view ofphilosophy in Section 2b: Descartes Project of IEP. 

4) In terms of method, Descartes uses geometrical style demonstration rather thansyllogisms. Explain what this means and why he does this.

 5) What is Descartes aim in Meditations on First Philosophy, according to IEP? Find whereDescartes explains his aim himself at the beginning of Meditation I of Meditations onFirst Philosophy and provide the quoted material. 

6) IEP explains that Descartes called all of his previous beliefs into doubt. What are someof these beliefs that are presented therein and how does he come to doubt them?Please be sure to read Meditation I in Meditations on First Philosophy carefullyalongside this section so that you can see how Descartes develops his method of doubt. 

7) The IEP explains that this process of doubt is properly called skepticism and it is thebedrock of Descartes method. The method is called Cartesian Doubt, and alsomethodological doubt. What does the IEP emphasis as important to realize about thismethod of doubt? What is the point of this methodological doubt and the ultimate goal? 

8) In Meditation II of Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes does discover somethingthat is beyond doubt. It is Cogito Ergo Sum (I think therefore I am). Explain whyDescartes thinks that one cannot doubt this, using both IEP and Descartes reasoningfrom the text. 

9) What is the nature of the mind as described by IEP and Descartes? What are itscharacteristics and faculties? Page 2 of 2 

10) The IEP explains that the modes of a thinking substance are its ideas. Descartesdistinguishes three types of ideas: fabricated, adventitious, or innate. Explain what eachis. 

11) Descartes comes to the conclusion that the mind is better known than the body. Thisclaim is important for the theory of rationalism, because it strengthens the view that thesource of our most certain knowledge is pure reason, and that we can know fundamentaltruths without recourse to sense perception. Explain how the wax example helps himprove this. 

12) Think the definition of Rationalism as the theory that reason rather than experience isthe foundation of certainty in knowledge. Explain how Descartes realizations supportthis theor

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