David Cunning

in Argument and Persuasion in Descartes’ Meditations

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780195399608
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866502 | DOI:

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This introductory chapter highlights that from start to finish the meditator of Descartes’ Meditations is advancing claims that are seen to pass muster from the meditator’s first-person point of view. The meditator is extremely confused at the start of inquiry. The arguments that he advances in the First Meditation are based on premises that are completely groundless, and are to be rejected in favor of the much better premises that he considers as he makes epistemic progress. Furthermore, he rectifies his pre-Meditations opinions and prejudices in only some instances, and the many opinions that he does not rectify remain in place throughout the Meditations and also at the end. If Spinoza had written a Meditations on First Philosophy after having written Ethics, there would be an obvious distinction between the views of Spinoza and the views of his struggling and mostly confused meditator. The distinction is just as clear in the case of Descartes.

Keywords: first-person point of view; meditator; Spinoza; prejudice; epistemic progress; inquiry

Chapter.  5862 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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