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Silencing the Demon's AdvocateThe Strategy of Descartes' Meditations$
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Ronald Rubin

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804758161

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804758161.001.0001

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(p.1) Chapter 1 Doubt
Silencing the Demon's Advocate
Stanford University Press

This chapter analyzes two notions of doubt and outline Rene Descartes' reasons for saying that he has grounds for doubt concerning each of his beliefs in the Meditations. It suggests that Descartes can call all of his beliefs by simply producing two hypotheses: one providing grounds for doubt concerning his empirical beliefs and one providing grounds for doubt concerning his nonempirical beliefs. The chapter also considers Descartes' hypothesis of the evil demon and argues that the dream hypothesis provides him with legitimate grounds for doubt concerning his empirical beliefs, since he has some slight suspicion that it might be true and sees that it challenges each of these beliefs.

Keywords:   doubt, Rene Descartes, beliefs, Meditations, empirical beliefs, nonempirical beliefs, evil demon, dream hypothesis

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