By John Carriero
Among Worlds is an authoritative statement on--and robust reinterpretation of--the founding paintings of recent philosophy, Descartes's Meditations. Philosophers have tended to learn Descartes's seminal paintings in an occasional manner, reading its therapy of person subject matters whereas ignoring different elements of the textual content. by contrast, John Carriero offers a sustained, systematic analyzing of the complete textual content, giving a close account of the positions opposed to which Descartes used to be reacting, and revealing anew the solidarity, that means, and originality of the Meditations. Carriero reveals within the Meditations a virtually non-stop argument opposed to Thomistic Aristotelian methods of puzzling over cognition, and exhibits extra truly than ever prior to how Descartes bridged the previous global of scholasticism and the recent one in all mechanistic naturalism. instead of casting Descartes's undertaking essentially by way of skepticism, wisdom, and sure bet, Carriero makes a speciality of primary disagreements among Descartes and the scholastics over the character of knowing, the relation among the senses and the mind, the character of the person, and the way and to what volume God is cognized through humans. in contrast history, Carriero exhibits, Descartes built his personal conceptions of brain, physique, and the relation among them, making a coherent, philosophically wealthy undertaking within the Meditations and surroundings the schedule for a century of rationalist metaphysics.
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Additional resources for Between Two Worlds: A Reading of Descartes's Meditations
Wouldn’t it suffice to show that one has a sensory idea, coupled with the thesis that sensory ideas function so as to import reality transmitted from currently existing bodies, and be done with it? Well, before the argument for the existence of 26 INTRODUCTION body, the meditator does not know what sensory ideas do, how they function; she does not know that her possession of a sensory idea makes her cognizant of something existing in a body. She has her suspicions, of course. So we might put it thus: before the argument she does not know that sensory ideas function in the way she suspects they do, in the way she finds herself naturally inclined to believe they do.
For example (as would be widely agreed), it is unlikely that we are supposed to be thinking in terms of some set of basic axioms from which all beliefs can be derived. But also (as perhaps would be more controversial), the suggestion that Descartes is exploring some set of “evidential policies”4 through appeal to which our beliefs are justified does not jibe well with the foundations that he eventually provides. Viewing Descartes’s foundations in this way has sometimes led interpreters to read him as implicitly defining knowledge through specially articulated standards for reasonable doubt, so that knowledge turns out to be what cannot be reasonably doubted.
That it is part of a naive, ordinary conception of our cognition that our beliefs or opinions have foundations. Nor is it clear, for that matter, what a more sophisticated Aristotelian scholastic would make of this suggestion. Yet, as I have just said, it is important for the meditator, already in her current position, to be able to see her beliefs as having a foundation, because if what Descartes is asking her to do is to work, she must think that there are basic principles such that if they were “undermined,” everything would fall with them.
Between Two Worlds: A Reading of Descartes's Meditations by John Carriero