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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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Empirical Knowledge

Empirical Knowledge

Chapter:
(p.155) Chapter 10 Empirical Knowledge
Source:
Silencing the Demon's Advocate
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804758161.003.0010

This chapter examines Rene Descartes' “proof” of the existence of physical objects in Meditation VI. It analyzes why Descartes would propose to affirm particular empirical propositions when he is not perfectly certain that they are true and suggests that it is possible that he returned commonplace standards of evidence towards the end of Meditations. The chapter also explains that while Descartes wanted to establish the theoretical possibility of our knowing particular empirical propositions with perfect certainty, he also recognized that the demands of practical life will often require our settling for much less.

Keywords:   physical objects, Rene Descartes, empirical propositions, Meditations, certainty

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