Chapter

Cartesianism

Wallace Matson

in Grand Theories and Everyday Beliefs

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199812691
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919420 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199812691.003.0018
Cartesianism

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Cartesian skepticism, unlike Pyrrhonism, was total, calling into question low beliefs as well as high. Descartes himself was not a skeptic but set out the argument in its favor for the purpose of refuting it and thereby strengthening theology. His argument was only possible against a specifically medieval background, his Evil Demon being the Omnipotent Creator-Legislator (OCL) in disguise. But as the skepticism was more convincing than the refutation, this concept is still around in our day, responsible for ‘modern’ philosophy's obsession with finding ‘foundations’ for knowledge. The pattern of the Ontological Argument for the existence of God, which moves from subjective conceivability to objective existence, can still be discerned in David Chalmers's advocacy of mind-body dualism: the subjective ‘logical possibility’ of zombies purporting to show the objective reality of the schism.

Keywords: zombie; Chalmers; Ontological Argument; imaginability; Omnipotent Creator-Legislator (OCL); skepticism; logical possibility; Law of Nature; dualism; Evil Demon

Chapter.  3009 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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