Archive for the ‘Descartes’ Category

Who is the greatest philosopher of all time? This is not a question to which we are likely to find a staightforward answer, but it remains an important one. The BBC ran a vote in 2005, and Karl Marx came out as the clear winner. But the list itself provdes a good starting point for […]


This argument against skepticism about other minds is often credited to Mill. ‘I conclude that other human beings have feelings like me because, first, they have bodies like me, which I know in my own case, to be the antecedent condition of feelings; and because secondly, they exhibit the acts, and other outward signs, which […]


The ‘Problem of Other Minds’ is an epistemological problem. It is based on the difference between the way we experience our own selves and the way we experience the selves of others. Consider the kinds of mental states that we have ourselves such as beliefs, desires, emotions and feelings.We have direct access to these for […]


Heidegger was a student of Husserl, founder of phenomenology. Husserl was a ‘transcendental phenomenologist’ who thought that there was a direct correlation between our experiences and the world around us. As such, conscious experiences (phenomena) could provide a reliable basis for scientific knowledge. Unlike Heidegger, he retained the subject/object distinction and the transcendental ego.In his […]


How can we tell when we are dreaming? Some people have such lucid, everyday dreams that they believe they are awake. When they are truly awake, however, they realize their mistake… how?


Is it possible that you are nothing more than a brain in a vat, cleverly linked up to a machine that stimulates your brain in such a way as to make you believe that you are a person with a body who can walk around, talk to other people and do all of the other […]


Kant, like Descartes and Berkeley, asks the following question: how can we distinguish appearances from reality? Rationalists (like Descartes) tried to escape the epistemological confines of the mind by constructing knowledge of the external world, the self, the soul, God, ethics, and science out of the simplest, indubitable ideas possessed innately by the mind while […]


One of the primary representatives of this kind of skepticism about the external world was René Descartes, who is often regarded as the first modern philosopher for his break with the scholastic, medieval tradition that preceded him. Descartes was a mathematician, and wanted to find a basis for truth that was as reliable as the […]