The Cartesian meditator's conception of certainty: knowledge of thought and knowledge of God in the first three Meditations

Shalev, Gil (2010) The Cartesian meditator's conception of certainty: knowledge of thought and knowledge of God in the first three Meditations. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

In this thesis, I argue that Descartes' method of doubt not only reveals the Meditator's very conception or understanding of certainty but, furthermore, that this particular grasp of certainty is not fully satisfied by the first principle - the existence of Thought - but rather by his knowledge of God's existence. The underlying scientific endeavor taken by Descartes expresses that what the Meditator is ultimately after is external ontological truth - the ontological reality of some thing in the empirical domain of the sciences. Before actually reaching that domain, per se, the Meditator must first understand the very possibility of Certainty with respect to something external to him; something external to thought. -- The Cogito - as the first principle to emerge from the limitations of metaphysical doubt - functions primarily to establish the 'thinking' and 'knowing' subject as the necessary condition for there being any knowledge to begin with. The possibility of external certainty itself is only instantiated through our knowledge of something other than and external to the Thinking Self-- God's existence. Knowledge of God is the first piece of knowledge proper we are certain of, for it is the first moment of bridging an idea to its purported object outside of thinking. Knowledge of God's existence brings to life the conception of certainty concerning the existence of something external to self, for it shows that, at the very least, such a conception is concretely realizable.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/9348
Item ID: 9348
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 123-124)
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Philosophy
Date: 2010
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Descartes, Rene, 1596-1650--Meditationes de prima philosophia; Certainty; Knowledge, Theory of

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