SEVENTEENTH CENTURY PHILOSOPHY
Note the contrast between this period and the Renaissance as seen by Donne:
The element of fire is quite put out, the air is but water rarefied. The earth is found to move, and is no more the center of the universe. Stars are not fixed, but swim in space, comets are mounted above the planets, some affirm there is another world of mean and sensitive creatures with cities and palaces in the moon; the sun is lost, for it is but a light made of the conjunction of many shining bodes together...[it] has spots; thus science by the diverse motions of this globe of the brain of man are become opinions, nay errors, and leave the imagination in a thousand labyrinths. What is all we know compared with what we know not?
We must discover the reasons for the changes Donne described. Use his quote and the information in the packet to answer the following:
PHILOSOPHY: THE 'COGITO' ARGUMENT:
DESCARTES (1596-1650): The four following would prove sufficient for me: The first was never to accept anything as true for which I did not clearly know to be such...avoid prejudice. the second to divided each of the difficulties under examination into as many parts as possible, as might be necessary for its adequate solution. The third to conduct my thoughts in such order that, by commencing with objects the simplest and easiest to know, I might ascend by little and little...to the knowledge of the more complex...and the last in every case to make enumerations so complete...that I may be assured that nothing was omitted. Seeing that our senses sometimes deceive us, I was willing to suppose that there existed nothing really such as they presented to us, and I supposed that all objects that had ever entered my mind when awake, had in them no more truth than the illusions of my dreams...it was absolutely necessary that I, who thus thought, should be somewhat; and as I observed that this truth, I THINK, HENCE I AM [Cogito, ergo sum] was so certain that no ground of doubt could be alleged...in order to think, it is necessary to exist. I might take as a general rule the principle that all the things which we very clearly and distinctly conceive are true, only observing, however, that there is some difficulty in rightly determining the objects which we distinctly perceive...we rise to causes through their effects and avail ourselves of many experiments.
CLICK HERE FOR AN EXCELLENT COMMENTARY ON THE FAMOUS 'COGITO' ARGUMENT.