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Roczniki Filozoficzne

Volume 68, Issue 2, 2020
Descartes' Epistemology

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1. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
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2. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
Przemysław Gut, Arkadiusz Gut The Highlights of Descartes’ Epistemology
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3. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
John Carriero John Carriero
Descartes (and Spinoza) on Intellectual Experience and Skepticism
Kartezjusz (i Spinoza) w Kwestii Intelektualnego Doświadczenia i Sceptycyzmu

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Descartes’s epistemology is rooted in his profound interest in and respect for what might be called intellectual experience, especially lucid intellectual experience. (Lucid intellectual experience is my term for what Descartes calls perceiving clearly and distinctly.) This interest, it seems to me, was shared by Descartes’s rationalist successors Spinoza and Leibniz. In the first part of this paper, I locate the phenomenon of lucid intellectual experience, focusing on Descartes and Spinoza. I try to show if we do not give enough attention to the character of such experience, we risk losing touch with a central motivation behind their respective epistemologies. In the second part of the paper, I consider intellectual experience in the context of skeptical doubt, particularly radical doubt. Although Descartes and Spinoza are often taken to be opposed here, I think they share more than is commonly appreciated.
4. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
Monika Walczak Monika Walczak
Epistemic Functions of Intuition in Descartes
Epistemiczne Funkcje Intuicji u Kartezjusza

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The topic of the paper is the notion of intuition in Descartes’ philosophy and its epistemic functions. Descartes introduces his notion of intuition in the context of a description of his method and process of knowing and doing science. Intuition is a significant component of this process. I intend to show that the main epistemic functions of intuition in Descartes’ philosophy are differentiated. Intuition is essential not only in the context of justification (the Cartesian synthetic method of proof) but also and especially in the context of discovery (the Cartesian analytic method of discovery). It plays not only a role in the foundation of the cogito but also on different stages of constructing the system of knowledge. Intuition has important functions in grasping simple natures, forming primary concepts, comprehending complex natures, forming primary propositions (including primary principles), and capturing relationships between them and building deductive reasoning (the role of intuition in deduction). Hence, intuition is the foundation for all primary stages of producing knowledge. It is active and important element of pure thinking (a priori) in human knowledge, and science. It fulfils these functions due to its specific epistemic properties. I also argue that intuition is not an autonomous and complete type of knowledge. Nor is it an intuitive thesis, but rather the basis of a justification for theses (including the cogito).
5. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
Murray Miles Murray Miles
The Three Faces of the Cogito: Descartes (and Aristotle) on Knowledge of First Principles
Descartes (i Arystoteles) o Poznaniu Pierwszych Zasad

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With the systematic aim of clarifying the phenomenon sometimes described as “the intellectual apprehension of first principles,” Descartes’ first principle par excellence is interpreted before the historical backcloth of Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics. To begin with, three “faces” of the cogito are distinguished: (1) the proto-cogito (“I think”), (2) the cogito proper (“I think, therefore I am”), and (3) the cogito principle (“Whatever thinks, is”). There follows a detailed (though inevitably somewhat conjectural) reconstruction of the transition of the mind from (1) via (3) to (2) and back again to (3). What emerges is, surprisingly, a non-circular, non-logical, and ultimately non-mysterious process by which first principles implicitly contained in a complex intuition are gradually rendered explicit (and, if abstract, grasped in their abstract universality). This process bears a striking family resemblance to that intuitive induction (“grasping the universal in the particular”) which Aristotle scholars have distinguished from empirical forms of induction.
6. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
Przemysław Gut Przemysław Gut
The Epistemic Significance of Current Clear and Distinct Perceptions in Descartes’ Epistemology
Znaczenie Epistemiczne Aktualnie Jasnych i Wyraźnych Ujęć w Epistemologii Kartezjusza

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In this article, I discuss the epistemic role that Descartes believed was played in knowledge construction by current clear and distinct perceptions (the ideas or propositions which appear most evident to us when we are attending to them). In recent literature, we can find two interpretations about the epistemic status and function of current clear and distinct perceptions in Descartes’ epistemology. The first may be called the psychological, the second normative. The latter states that current clear and distinct perceptions are utterly immune to all doubt, even before God’s existence is proven and the general rule of truth is established. Thus, their certainty is for Descartes not merely psychological, but normative. I endorse the normative interpretation for a number of what I believe to be cogent reasons. However, there are also some difficulties with it. Therefore, after presenting positive arguments for the interpretation (sections I–IV) I discuss the difficulties of textual and substantive nature that the normative interpretation needs to address if it is to be upheld (sections V–VI).
7. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
C. P. Ragland, Everett Fulmer C. P. Ragland
The Fourth Meditation and Cartesian Circles
Czwarta Medytacja A Kartezjańskie Koła

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We offer a novel interpretation of the argumentative role that Meditation IV plays within the whole of the Meditations. This new interpretation clarifies several otherwise head-scratching claims that Descartes makes about Meditation IV, and it fully exonerates the Fourth Meditation from either raising or exacerbating Descartes’ circularity problems.
8. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
Stefaan E. Cuypers Stefaan E. Cuypers
The Curious Sensations of Pain, Hunger and Thirst: Reliabilism in the Second Part of Descartes’ Sixth Meditation
Osobliwość Takich Doznań, Jak Ból, Głód I Pragnienie

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This paper discusses the epistemic status of bodily sensations—especially the sensations of pain, hunger and thirst—in the second part of Descartes’ Sixth Meditation. It is argued that this part is an integral component of Descartes overall purely epistemological project in the Meditations. Surprisingly perhaps, in contrast with his standardly taken infallible, internalist and foundationalist position, Descartes adopts a fallibilist, externalist and reliabilist position as regards the knowledge and beliefs based on bodily sensations. The argument for this conclusion is justified by an analysis of both the criterion of nature’s teachings and the concept of true errors of nature in terms of Wilfrid Sellars’ distinction between the logical space of reasons and the empirical space of causes.
9. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
Amy M. Schmitter Amy M. Schmitter
Cartesian Social Epistemology?: Contemporary Social Epistemology and Early Modern Philosophy
Kartezjańska Epistemologia Społeczna?

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Many contemporary social epistemologists take themselves to be combatting an individualist approach to knowledge typified by Descartes. Although I agree that Descartes presents an individualist picture of scientific knowledge, he does allow some practical roles for reliance on the testimony and beliefs of others. More importantly, however, his reasons for committing to individualism raise important issues for social epistemology, particularly about how reliance on mere testimony can propagate prejudices and inhibit genuine understanding. The implications of his views are worked out more fully by some of his immediate successors; I examine how François Poulain de la Barre, and (briefly) Mary Astell analyze the social conditions for epistemic agency in a Cartesian vein.
10. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
Krzysztof Wawrzonkowski Krzysztof Wawrzonkowski
Thomas Hobbes’s Elements of Law and His Third Objections to Descartes’s Meditations
Elementy Prawa Thomasa Hobbesa a Jego Zarzuty Trzecie do Medytacji Kartezjusza

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In this article I endeavour to present the axis of the dispute between Hobbes and Descartes on the ground of Meditation, and its most important moments. I focus primarily on the analysis of the most important accusations made by Hobbes and the reconstruction of some of his views, which at the time could only be found in The Elements of Law, Nature, and Politics. This work was the first major and coherent attempt to speak out on cognitive-theory and social issues; I strive to defend the thesis that understanding the content of Objections requires knowledge of this work. The mature form of the work shows that the Englishman already had his views well thought-out and could feel quite confident in formulating from their perspective critical remarks on Descartes’s philosophy, to which, it seems, he may have owed quite a lot.
11. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 68 > Issue: 2
Adam Grzeliński Adam Grzeliński
The Cartesianism and Anti-Cartesianism of Locke’s Concept of Personal Identity
Kartezjanizm i Antykartezjanizm Locke’Owskiej Koncepcji Tożsamości Osobowej

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This article focuses on the relationship between the conceptions of personal identity presented by Descartes and by Locke. Contrary to common readings, I claim that the difference between them cannot be reduced to a simple contrast between rational substantialism and genetic empiricism. Locke does not resign from the substantialist position but delimits the two spheres: natural cognition with its foundation in experience and philosophical speculations, in which he tries to present a rational interpretation of religious dogmas which is consistent with his epistemological programme. Locke’s criticism is directed against the Cartesian notion of a thinking thing as a substance independent of the body and his description of the differentiation of experience and his depiction of human subjectivity is expanded in relation to Cartesian philosophy: personal identity gains explication at four complementary levels: psychological, biological, socio-legal, and religious.