Painted Mules and the Cartesian Circle

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 26 (1):29 - 55 (1996)
  Copy   BIBTEX


René Descartes, one of the dominant figures in the history of philosophy, has been accused of one of the most obvious mistakes in the history of philosophy — the so-called cartesian circle. It is my goal in this paper to arrive at an understanding of Descartes's work that attributes to him a theory that should be of philosophical interest to contemporary epistemologists, is consistent with, and suggested by, the actual text, and avoids the circle.I begin with a brief explanation of the supposed circle. In his search for absolute certainty Descartes requires that in order for a proposition to be an instance of knowledge it must be indubitable for the knower, and in order for it to be indubitable for the knower she must be able to eliminate any possibility of the belief's being false. It is to provide a means to satisfy this requirement that Descartes proposes the principle whatever is clearly and distinctly perceived cannot be false.And it seems that Descartes's defense of CD traps him in the circle.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,252

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Cartesian Circle and Two Forms of Scepticism.Ruth Weintraub - 1997 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 14 (4):365 - 377.
The Cartesian Circle.J. M. Orenduff - 1982 - Philosophical Topics 13 (9999):109-113.
The Cartesian Circle.Elizabeth G. Salmon - 1938 - New Scholasticism 12 (4):378-391.
The cartesian circle.Alan Gewirtz - 1941 - Philosophical Review 50 (4):368-395.
The cartesian circle.Dugald Murdoch - 1999 - Philosophical Review 108 (2):221-244.
Bernard Williams and the Cartesian Circle.A. C. Stubbs - 1980 - Analysis 40 (2):103 - 108.
Memory and the Cartesian circle.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1962 - Philosophical Review 71 (4):504-511.
The cartesian circle reconsidered.Alan Gewirth - 1970 - Journal of Philosophy 67 (19):668-685.
The cartesian circle.Lynn E. Rose - 1965 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 26 (1):80-89.
The cartesian circle and the eternal truths.Anthony Kenny - 1970 - Journal of Philosophy 67 (19):685-700.
On rose's "cartesian circle".Norman Kretzmann - 1965 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 26 (1):90-92.
Epistemic appraisal and the cartesian circle.Fred Feldman - 1975 - Philosophical Studies 27 (1):37 - 55.


Added to PP

61 (#254,961)

6 months
9 (#259,174)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Mark Heller
Syracuse University

Citations of this work

Evidence for God from Certainty.Katherin A. Rogers - 2008 - Faith and Philosophy 25 (1):31-46.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Epistemic operators.Fred I. Dretske - 1970 - Journal of Philosophy 67 (24):1007-1023.
The cartesian circle.Louis Loeb - 1992 - In John Cottingham (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Descartes. Cambridge University Press. pp. 200--235.
Truth and Stability in Descartes' Meditations.Jonathan Bennett - 1990 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 20 (Supplement):75-108.
Demons, Dreamers and Madmen. [REVIEW]Govier T. - 1974 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 3 (4):681-689.

Add more references