Descartes's Method of Doubt
By (author) Janet Broughton
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Descartes's Method of Doubt by Janet Broughton
Book DescriptionDescartes thought that we could achieve absolute certainty by starting with radical doubt. He adopts this strategy in the Meditations on First Philosophy, where he raises sweeping doubts with the famous dream argument and the hypothesis of an evil demon. But why did Descartes think we should take these exaggerated doubts seriously? And if we do take them seriously, how did he think any of our beliefs could ever escape them? Janet Broughton undertakes a close study of Descartes's first three meditations to answer these questions and to present a fresh way of understanding precisely what Descartes was up to. Broughton first contrasts Descartes's doubts with those of the ancient skeptics, arguing that Cartesian doubt has a novel structure and a distinctive relation to the commonsense outlook of everyday life. She then argues that Descartes pursues absolute certainty by uncovering the conditions that make his radical doubt possible. She gives a unified account of how Descartes uses this strategy, first to find certainty about his own existence and then to argue that God exists. Drawing on this analysis, Broughton provides a new way to understand Descartes's insistence that he hasn't argued in a circle, and she measures his ambitions against those of contemporary philosophers who use transcendental arguments in their efforts to defeat skepticism. The book is a powerful contribution both to the history of philosophy and to current debates in epistemology.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691117324
(229mm x 152mm x 13mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 6-Oct-2003
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Janet Broughton
Companion to Descartes, Paperback (November 2010)» View all books by Janet Broughton
A collection of more than 30 specially commissioned essays, this volume surveys the work of the 17th-century philosopher-scientist commonly regarded as the founder of modern philosophy, while integrating unique essays detailing the context and impact of his work.
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Author Biography - Janet Broughton
Janet Broughton is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley.
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