Circling Descartes

McCauley, Harry (2004) Circling Descartes. Maynooth Philosophical Papers, 2. pp. 70-83.

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From its initial, pre-publication circulation amongst a group of his contemporaries right up to the present day, Descartes’s Meditations has remained a highly controversial philosophical text. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the text is whether a circular argument lies at its very heart – a circular argument which would, quite literally, destroy the very edifice of knowledge which Descartes had tried so hard to rebuild upon secure and solid foundations. In this paper I want to have another look at the Cartesian Circle and to argue that, for all the undoubted ingenuity of Descartes’s various responses to the issue, a damaging circle remains in place and, moreover, I shall argue, it is a circle which outruns Descartes’s standard resources for responding to the charge of circularity.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Descartes
Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > Philosophy
Item ID: 422
Depositing User: Harry McCauley
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2006
Journal or Publication Title: Maynooth Philosophical Papers
Publisher: National University of Ireland Maynooth
Refereed: Yes

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