Meditations on first philosophy

Notes on René DescartesMeditations on First Philosophy, from the Introduction to Philosophy course.

22nd September 2020

The only element which exist by itself is extension, everything else is given by the relation between us and the object. Example of cold hands in cold water and warm hands in cold water. Thus, subjective states.


The argument of mass +++

+++ Aristoteles’ vs Descartes’ interpretation of physics

The metaphysics objects of the Meditations

Why the existence

23rd September 2020

The two main metaphysical points of the meditations

  • Descartes dualism has an aim towards physics: if we can prove that the human mind can exist independently from the body, we can then conclude that the body is pure extension. Then the world (Physics) can be explained by motion and matter only.

The existence of God is needed to prove that Empiricism doesn’t world: knowledge comes independently from the experience of the world, since God “implanted” some thoughts into our mind.


  • The use of first person is essential, starting from the first point, since it argues about the existence of the self. Also because in this way everybody can arrive to the same truth, we only have to go down the same path.

(Pierre Bayle, one of the first journalists)

  • +++
  • Show and lead the way from error to truth. “Meditations” was used for religious writing, and it was chosen by Descartes to show an evolution, a progression, and a change. A change which can revolutionize our lives.

About using God to discard empiricism: Pascal criticizes the use of God to prove Descartes’ point since in this way God is merely conceived as the starter of everything, but useless for everything else


Identity between our ideas and reality. God, which doesn’t want to deceive us, guarantees that if we are sure, we have no doubt about something, it means it’s true. Clearness and distinctness mean truth


  • [[ +++ Meditations by others|Notes on the Meditations by other students ]]



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