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Journal Articles Topoi Year : 2022

Stop Doubting with Descartes

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Did Descartes manage to overcome the skeptics? If we understand “overcome” in the sense of “refute,” the answer is no, since his hyperbolic doubt harbors several blind spots and is, therefore, not as radical as is commonly argued. In this way, the victory of the cogito is perhaps less decisive and fruitful than it is claimed. If we understand “overcome” in the sense of “remove” or “move beyond,” the answer is yes. Descartes has overcome skepticism, but at the cost of a decision, a sort of bet made in favor of reason based on a confidence in the human mind that is never really subverted. This faith in reason, truth, and specific epistemological principles in Descartes’ philosophy constitute what Wittgenstein calls “hinges,” which are indispensable for doubting and searching for truth. In this sense, Descartes’ anti-skepticism is more a confidence in reason in order to save the possibility of science than the result of a logical refutation.
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hal-03839276 , version 1 (02-12-2022)

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François-Xavier de Peretti. Stop Doubting with Descartes. Topoi, 2022, ⟨10.1007/s11245-022-09822-0⟩. ⟨hal-03839276⟩

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