Self Knowledge and the Rule of Truth

Thomas C. Vinci

in Cartesian Truth

Published in print June 1998 | ISBN: 9780195113297
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833825 | DOI:
 Self Knowledge and the Rule of Truth

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Basic Cartesian intuitions are directed at simple natures, not truths; but intuitions are also a foundation for propositional knowledge. There are two basic objectives of this chapter: (1) to show how Descartes gets from intuitions to propositional knowledge, and (2) to show how his solution to this problem structures his thinking on the main issues in Cartesian epistemology. I maintain that the solution to (1) is to be found in the principle if we perceive the presence of an attribute A, there must be an actually existing substance to which A is attributed. This principle gets its clearest expression in the Principles of Philosophy but also appears in the Rules for the Direction of the Mind and in the Meditations where, I argue, it appears in the form of the Rule of Truth. I show how this principle is derived from the cogito, understood both as inference and as intuition, how this principle plays a role in Descartes theory of consciousness and self‐knowledge, in the case for substance dualism, and in the theory of clear and distinct ideas.

Keywords: clear and distinct ideas; cogito; consciousnessDescartes; dualism; inference; intuitionknowledge; Meditations; Principles of Philosophy; rule of truth; Rules for the Direction of the Mind; self‐knowledge; substance

Chapter.  25137 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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