BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Doubt and human nature in Descartes's Meditations

    Patterson, Sarah (2012) Doubt and human nature in Descartes's Meditations. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 70 , pp. 189-217. ISSN 1358-2461.

    Full text not available from this repository.


    Descartes is well known for his employment of the method of doubt. His most famous work, the Meditations, begins by exhorting us to doubt all our opinions, including our belief in the existence of the external world. But critics have charged that this universal doubt is impossible for us to achieve because it runs counter to human nature. If this is so, Descartes must be either misguided or hypocritical in proposing it. Hume writes: "There is a species of scepticism, antecedent to all study and philosophy, which is much inculcated by Des Cartes and others, as a sovereign preservative against error and precipitate judgement. It recommends an universal doubt, not only of all our former opinions and principles, but also of our very faculties… The Cartesian doubt, …were it ever possible to be attained by any human creature (as it plainly is not) would be entirely incurable; and no reasoning could ever bring us to a state of assurance and conviction upon any subject". (Enquiry 12.3; emphasis added).


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2013 15:51
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:05


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item