Category Archives: Modern Philosophy – 1600-1800

Descartes’ Cogito As Intuition

It is a classic mistake of lazy thinking to believe that Descartes’ Cogito–“I think therefore I am”–is an argument. It isn’t but it is not surprising how people are fooled by the surface appearance of the phrase. The book Descartes’ … Continue reading

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Descartes’ Circle Debunked

Almost since Descartes published his book Meditations he has been accused of committing a fallacy of circular reasoning with his argument that God is the guarantor of the truth of our belief in an external world. Descartes’ argument has ever … Continue reading

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Kant’s Categories

In conversation recently, someone suggested that Kant’s categories of understanding could be described as algorithms that organize sense data. An algorithm, the someone said, is defined as “a procedure for solving a mathematical problem in a finite number of steps … Continue reading

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Kepler Destroys the Universe

It is almost impossible for us today to appreciate the profound effect of Kepler’s theory of planetary motion (published in 1609). It was always an unquestioned assumption that everything in the heavens was pristine and perfect and that meant that … Continue reading

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Spinoza’s Proposition 1.5

Many students have trouble understanding Spinoza’s Proposition 1.5 and exactly what it is he is trying to prove. Here is what Spinoza said: In Nature there cannot be two or more substances having the same nature or attribute. If there … Continue reading

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