Descartes' Method of Doubt

By Janet Broughton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
6

Using Doubt

IN THE First Meditation, Descartes spelled out radical grounds for doubt, grounds that are attenuated but whose scope seems universal. For complex motives, the meditator resolved to suspend judgment about everything that falls within the scope of these reasons for doubt, even though the reasons are slight and exaggerated. He took this bold step both because he thought that to establish something lasting in the sciences, he must first demolish all his opinions, and because he thought that using this maxim would enable him to execute a strategywith the power to go up against the authorityof common sense.

We could imagine that for Descartes, the “method of universal doubt” concerns nothing more than this. Such a method would greatlywiden the scope of doubt from its everyday limits, and it would require us to suspend judgment about everything that falls within that widened scope. It would not, however, be constructive: it would not point us toward propositions to which we could assent, nor would it help us to answer the question how there could be anypropositions to which we could assent, or the question how we could hope to discover them. These are urgent questions if the point of the First Meditation is to guide our assent so that we can reach lasting results in the sciences. For how can any propositions lie beyond the scope of the First Meditation doubts? The first two radical grounds for doubt seem to have within their scope each member of the class of beliefs Descartes has acquired byusing his five senses, and the second two seem also to have within their scope each member of the class of simple and evident matters. And wouldn't any proposition eligible for inclusion in a lasting science be a member of one of these two classes or rest upon propositions that are members of one of these classes? In fact, it looks as though if Descartes is to assent to anything, he must find some wayof discovering absolute certainties other

-97-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Descartes' Method of Doubt
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Descartes's Method of Doubt *
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Descartes's Method of Doubt *
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One - Raising Doubt *
  • Chapter 1 - Who is Doubting? 21
  • Chapter 2 - Ancient Skepticism 33
  • Chapter 3 - Reasons for Suspending Judgment 42
  • Chapter 4 - Reasons for Doubt 62
  • Chapter 5 - Common Sense and Skeptical Reflection 72
  • Part Two - Using Doubt *
  • Chapter 6 - Using Doubt 97
  • Chapter 7 - Inner Conditions 108
  • Chapter 8 - Outer Conditions 144
  • Chapter 9 - Reflections 175
  • References 203
  • Index 211
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 217

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.