Volume 16, 2008
Knowledge as One’s Own Achievement
The aim of this paper is to demonstrate what Descartes’ purpose of philosophy is by raising questions concerning the style of Descartes’ writing. In particular, I shall focus on investigating the characteristic style of Descartes’ Discourse on the Method. It is often considered that Descartes is not only the founder of modern
philosophy but also the father of foundationalism in epistemology. In fact, Descartes’ most celebrated argument of cogito is sometimes understood only in the context of epistemological foundationalism. However, Descartes’ epistemology is quite different from the one that is often understood as the theory of knowledge in the contemporary scene of philosophy. Paying attention to Descartes’ style of writing, we realize that it is necessary for us to see his epistemology in a different framework from the contemporary philosophers’. I shall show that the purpose of philosophy for Descartes is not to present disputations for propounding and
defending his own theory in philosophy, but to let the readers of his writing engaged with philosophy.