• Fooloso4
    5.6k
    So perhaps Descartes is never fully convinced that there is an outside worldLionino

    We need to make a distinction between the argument from doubt and his work, specifically his work in medicine, optics, and physics. I don't think he needed to be convinced that there was an outside world because he never really doubted it.
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    I don't think he needed to be convinced that there was an outside world because he never really doubted it.Fooloso4

    In The World and The Man, evidently not, but if he did not doubt the world in metaphysics, he wouldn't feel the need to put arguments for it in the Meditations.
  • Fooloso4
    5.6k


    I think it is a rhetorical strategy. After all, if he doubted that there are men in the world why bother writing and publishing?

    As I see it, he begins by calling everything into doubt in order to call the authority of the Church and "the philosopher", Aristotle, into doubt.
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    I think it is a rhetorical strategy. After all, if he doubted that there are men in the world why bother writing and publishing?Fooloso4

    That is when we would hear the redundant neologism "performative contradiction". I think it is because "doubt" here has two meanings.
    A: I doubt he actually said those things.
    B: I doubt whether I chose the right team.
    One is a denial, the other is insuficient grounds. That {I have insufficient grounds to claim there are men in the same fashion as I claim I can imagine balls of different colours} is different from committing to the denial of an idea (which by itself requires grounding), the denial through which we would adopt different attitudes than we would if we committed to the affirmative idea. When there are two possible courses of action that result each from committing to one idea (opposite to the other), the commitment must be made to one of them, regardless of whether I doubt both.
    Thus, the admission of possibility of mistake (B) is different from the commitment to a denial (A). But when acting, one must commit. I remember some theory of belief where beliefs are defined in fact by our behaviour, in which case entertaining skepticism goes out of the window — but I don't subscribe to that theory.
  • Fooloso4
    5.6k
    I have insufficient grounds to claim there are men ...Lionino

    I think that this kind of skepticism gets things backwards. It is not a matter of grounding the claim that there are men, but of providing grounds for doubting that there are men. The ability to doubt is not a good reason to doubt. Claiming that there are men does not require grounds. Claiming that there are men on Mars does.
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    You say we don't need grounds to claim there are men, but then that we need grounds to doubt there are men. This seems to assume a naïve realist view of many things.
  • Fooloso4
    5.6k
    This seems to assume a naïve realist view of many things.Lionino

    I have been called worse, but I want to avoid getting entangled in such distinctions. I think Wittgenstein's notion of a hinge is right.
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    I acquiesce with Wittgenstein's hinges; that men exist is not what I would call one.
  • Fooloso4
    5.6k


    There are a few threads on the forum that discuss hinges. As I understand them they are things that in the normal course of our lives are not called into question and around which other things turn. To whom would the proposition "men exist" be addressed? What information does it convey that we do not already know?
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