Meditations objections and replies


Title: Protests and Responses

Author: Rene Descartes

Translator: Ali Afzali

Publisher: Scientific and Cultural Publishing Company

Subject: The first philosophy / metaphysics

Age category: Adult

Number of pages: 771

Language: Farsi



The book Meditations, objections, and replies by René Descartes.

René Descartes is one of the greatest philosophers in the history of philosophy, the history of Western philosophy, which has rightly been called the father of modern philosophy. His ideas have had a profound effect on philosophers after him to this day, and his short but fundamental book, Reflections on Early Philosophy, became the subject of widespread philosophical and theological debate in the same period and beyond. Descartes collected all the objections to the book in a large collection and responded to them, calling them objections and responses.

Rene Descartes (1650-1596) is often called the father of modern philosophy. He is a great and prominent figure who, with his own ideas, took school philosophy out of its former prosperity. Descartes, who saw himself as merely seeking the truth, decided at once to doubt all his beliefs – even those which we find very obvious. From this doubt – which is in fact the beginning of his certain knowledge – he suddenly finds his soul so clear and distinct that he sees no way for doubt to penetrate it.
As he himself has said, while doubting everything, he considered the meaning that he was really thinking to be certain and absolutely unquestionable, and with the guidance of wisdom – that every thinker must necessarily be a thinker – to He realized the existence of his soul as a thinking substance and made it the starting point of his philosophy.

It is noteworthy that Cartesian doubt is a fruitless unbridled doubt that does not originate from the incapacitated or sick mind, because such a doubt does not even go through the womb and leads only to the valley of sophistry. Whereas Cartesian doubt is a corridor to access certainties, and in principle, as Descartes himself said, if everything can be doubted, we can no longer doubt our own doubt, because this doubt is the product of human thought in its general sense, and in Reality is a kind of reason and thought. Cartesian skepticism or grammatical skepticism is now used as one of the essential and inviolable principles in the new methodology in all sciences.

The condition of scientific research is that the researcher is always skeptical of his scientific observations and findings and knows that wherever dogma replaces grammatical doubt, there is a departure from the limits of scientific research.

The nature of grammatical doubt requires that we abandon scientific necessity and be content with possibilities. As the nature of science in today’s culture is nothing higher than probability. Descartes’ skepticism as a way of removing errors from the mind is comparable to Bacon’s “mental idols,” and its mission and philosophical value are both the same.

Descartes, like Bacon, essentially casts doubt on the possibility of wrongdoing and considers common sense to be inherently error-free. Educational inductions often lead to errors in cognition, and the mechanism of doubt is practically nothing more than the elimination of errors resulting from incorrect training. Bacon also considers the nature of mental idols to be the same corruptions resulting from unscientific upbringing.

Few philosophers in and after Descartes were influenced by him. Who can deny his extraordinary influence on such greats as Leibniz, Spinoza, and Kant – and even his outspoken opponents of rationalism, such as Locke and Hume? Spinoza was so influenced by him that he imitated or followed him and wrote his most important book, Ethics, in Descartes’ geometric method.
At the end of his answer to the second category of objections, Descartes presents the essence of his philosophy in a geometric way and in the form of definitions and theorems, and Spinoza uses exactly the same style in writing the book “Ethics”.

He also wrote another work in the same style, which is a description of Descartes ‘philosophy, and published it under the title “Proving the Principles of Descartes’ Philosophy in a Geometric Way”. Descartes’ views were so influential that they forced the great philosophers after him to take a stand. The views of Locke and Hume, as empirical philosophers of the profession in many cases, were in fact a response to and critique of the views of Descartes and Cartesians.

Kant also talks to Descartes in various places in his works, especially in “Critique of Pure Reason”, and analyzes his views (such as: existential argument, self-knowledge or self-knowledge and Cogito, etc.). . Were it not for Descartes’ philosophy, these philosophers certainly would not have raised many of their issues. That is why he has rightly been called the “founder of the new philosophy.”

Take a look at the Persian translation of this book
This very important book has been translated by Dr. Ali Mosaei Afzali and published by the Scientific and Cultural Publishing Company last year – winter 2005. Fortunately, this book – despite many books on Western philosophy – has been translated by one of the philosophers. The esteemed translator has presented this book after nearly twenty years of effort and research, and it is worth mentioning that the translation of the book “Protests and Answers” has been the subject of his master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation under the guidance and advice of top philosophy professors. Has also been located.

The translation of the first, second and third categories of “Objections and Answers” – which consists of about eighty pages of English text – has been the subject of the master’s thesis and the fourth to seventh categories – more than two hundred and sixty pages of English – have been the subject of the translator’s doctoral dissertation.
We know that the book “Reflections” and “Protests and Answers” were written in Latin, and the Persian translation of “Protests and Answers” was made from one of the most authoritative sources on Descartes’s works – the HR collection and from English – although To better understand the difficulties of this text, the Persian translator has referred to other texts, which are all mentioned in footnotes.

There are currently only two official and authentic English translations of Descartes’ collection in the world – as well as the full text of “Protests and Answers”:
1. It is a collection written by two people named Haldane and Ross in English in two volumes in 1911 and has been reprinted several times in the following years after revision.
The second volume of this collection is entirely devoted to “Objections and Responses” and its appendices (including: Descartes’ explanation of the fifth category of objections, Descartes’ letter to “Clergy”, Descartes’ letter to Dinah).
2. A more complete collection of Descartes’ philosophical works between 1984 and 1991 has been translated into English and published in three volumes.
The first and second volumes are the work of three people named Cottingham, Stoothoff, and Murdoch. All over the world, including throughout the Persian translation of “Meditations, objections, and replies”, these two volumes are abbreviated as “CSM” (the first letters of the authors).

But in the third volume, which is dedicated to Descartes’ letters, the excerpt “Anthony Kenny” (abbreviated K) is also used. The abbreviation for the third volume everywhere is “CSMK”.

This three-volume collection, in addition to what was included in the two-volume HR collection, also includes Descartes’ letters and other important works. In this volume, like HR, Descartes’s Principles of Philosophy is excerpted, not complete, but it is more complete than HR, and there are some principles that are not in HR. The books and treatises in the first volume of CSM are in the order in which they were written, and at the beginning of each work, an introductory introduction by English translators about that work and the details of its original edition are inserted.

The second volume was published in 1984 and includes “Reflections on the First Philosophy” and “Protests and Answers” and appendices related to these protests, ie: Appendix on the fifth category of protests and responses (including: Descartes’ explanation of the fifth category of protests and also Descartes’s letter to Chlorslie and his letter to Dinah.
Since the letter to Dineh has no specific philosophical content and contains only Descartes’s grievances against Borden (author of the seventh category of protests) and his behavior, as well as that of some others, this letter is summarized in CSM and excerpts from It has been removed, which in this sense is a shortcoming in this collection, and the HR text has an advantage over it. In this Persian translation, the deleted parts are precisely specified.

Also in this second volume, in addition to “reflections” and “Meditations, objections, and replies”, the treatise “In search of truth (by natural light)” is at the end. Since “Objections and Responses” is very closely related to “reflections” and is in fact a complement to it, and he constantly refers to it by quoting “reflections”, Descartes himself combined these two works together in one volume. Published.

Hence, the CSM authors, following him, published these two works in one volume, and thus, unlike HR, the reader no longer has to constantly refer to “reflections” in “protests and responses”. Refer to another volume.
The Persian translator also had access to and used this collection of works, and fortunately both the HR and CSM introductions – which provide the reader with the necessary brief information about the introduction of the protesters and their protests – have been translated into Persian by him. But as for the translation and equivalence of some very, very key and important words – if viewed fairly – it should be said that it is extremely technically and accurately translated into Persian, which refers to an example:

One of the most important and widely used words in Western philosophy is the word “objective” (and the opposite, “subjective”). At present, the meaning of this word is “objective” (and the opposite, “mental”). Throughout the book, the translator has mentally translated the word “objective” into Descartes’s philosophy – correctly and contrary to tradition. This term – like some other philosophical terms – has evolved semantically throughout history.

But this change in the word “objective” has been so great that it has turned its meaning completely against its original meaning. Many philosophers, including Descartes, have used the term in their philosophy. Since this word is one of the key terms in Descartes’ philosophy and its accurate and correct understanding is very important for the correct understanding of some of his views and those of his contemporary protesters, Confusing it with its modern meaning is the source of important errors in understanding his philosophy, it is absolutely necessary to explain the meaning of this word in Descartes’s philosophy. There is ample evidence that the word in Descartes’s philosophy has a mental rather than an objective meaning.

Meditations, objections, and replies

The word “object” in its Latin root is composed of the word “ob” / “before – against” meaning (opposite – face) and the word “jacere” / “Throw” meaning (throwing – throwing – being ) And therefore means “something that appears and stands in front of. It is literally equivalent to the word “equal”.
Today, the word is translated as “objective” and means “external objects and beings that identify with themselves, an existence independent of the mind and the subject” and, conversely, the word “subjective” is now translated as “mental”. It is “concepts or ideas that exist in the mind of the cognitive subject and are dependent on him and do not exist independently of his mind. It should be noted, however, that in the past (ie, in the Middle Ages and after the Renaissance, in the period of modern philosophy up to the nineteenth century), these two words had the correct meaning, as opposed to their current meaning.

That is, the word “objective” was used to mean “subjective” and the word “subjective” was used to mean objective. Explanation: In the Middle Ages, Duns Scotus first used the word “object” and he meant the concept or mental form, that is, “what belongs to and is the subject of thought and perception” ( “object of thought) is placed.” Thus the word “objective” in Scottish philosophy has meant “mental.” This meaning was common in the Middle Ages and later, in the period of modern philosophy.

Spinoza (in Ethics, Part 1, Theorem 30, and Part 2, Theorem 8) and Barclay (in Siris, 292) used the same word to mean “mental.” The word continued to be used in the same sense until the 18th and 19th centuries, and the word “subjective” was used in exactly the opposite sense, “objective.” According to Runes, for the first time “Bomgarten” (1762-1714) and according to “Reese”, first “Kant” changed the meaning of the word “objective” to “objective” and “subjective”. Used to mean “mental”.
According to Kant, “objective” refers to that which has an existence outside and independent of the mind, while “subjective” refers to that which is independent of the subject-mind of the subject and has no independent existence. Meinong and Husscrl tried again to bring the two words closer to their original meanings. Descartes, following the common meanings of these two words in the Middle Ages, used them in his works.

In his book Meditations, objections, and replies, he specifies these meanings for the words, and according to his interpretation, external beings exist “subjectively” and mental concepts and beings exist “objectively”. “According to the common interpretation, external beings exist formally and subjectively, but their existence in understanding is objectively or ideally,” he says. (P. 157 of HR) ».

One of the most important and main cases in which Descartes uses the word “objective” is about the term “objective reality”. He uses the term for mental concepts and forms, and believes that every concept, in terms of its narrative, has a “mental reality” that reflects the “greatness or perfection” that exists within the meaning of this concept. .
In other words, the same reality or perfection that exists in the external being, its concept also possesses the same reality or perfection mentally. Hence, “reality or mental perfection” of one concept is different from another, and for example, “mental reality” is the concept of God more than other concepts, or “mental reality” is the concept of substance more than width. Descartes uses this principle of his own more than anything else to prove the existence of God (cf. the third reflection).

Thus we see that the meaning of the word “objective” in Descartes’ philosophy and especially in the term
“Objective reality” should never be confused with its modern meaning, “objective,” and how misleading such an equivalent is for Descartes. The importance of paying attention to this issue in Descartes’s philosophy and neglecting to understand its true meaning is such that some Descartes recognize the great contemporary in their works so that readers of Descartes’s works do not get misled and misunderstood in the terminology of his philosophy. .

For example, John Cottingham, a prominent contemporary Descartes scholar (who is one of the translators of Descartes’s works into English and himself the author of valuable works on Descartes’s philosophy), states in his books: The narrative content of a concept is called the “mental reality” of that concept …
This use of the word “objective” has nothing in common with the modern meaning of the word. The term “objective reality” does not, in Descartes’ view, apply to independent and out-of-mind objects, but rather, in his view, belongs to the mental realm of concepts or ideas “(Cottingham, John, Descartes, Basil Black Well, 1989, p. 49).

Descartes always uses the word “objective” as opposed to the word “formal”. According to Descartes, a concept can be considered from two aspects. One is the psychological aspect, in which case the concept is an aspect of consciousness, and the other is the aspect of its narrative content. Descartes calls the first aspect “formal reality” and the second aspect “objective reality” of that concept.

“Nature is a concept in such a way that in itself no formal reality is appropriate except what it takes from my mind,” he says. But in order for a concept to have some mental reality [not another mental reality], it must undoubtedly take that reality for a reason … ”(Third Reflection, CSM, vol. 2, pp. 9-28).
Descartes uses the distinction between mental and formal reality not only in terms of concepts but also in terms of external beings and objects. In this case, “formal” reality is a real existence outside the mind, while “mental reality” is merely a mental existence and the subject and object of perception.

Descartes says in this regard: [I mean the sun in the sense that there is an objective being in our minds] is the sun itself that exists in the mind, although not a formal existence, that is, as it is in the sky, but Mental existence means the way things are usually in the mind.

Of course, the perfection of this way of being is far less than the perfection of foreign beings, but for this reason it cannot be considered merely extinct. It is quite different from its modern application (taken from scholastic philosophers).
Suarez writes: “An objective conception is something or a concept that is accurately and directly represented by this notion.” For example, when we imagine a human being, we call the mental action that we perform to imagine this human being a “formal concept”. But the human being who has been represented through this action is called a “mental imagination” (Metaphysical Discussions, 1, 1, 2).

(Cottingham, John, A Descartes Dictionary, Blackwell, 1993)
In Persian translation, other key words such as thing, being, adequate, eternal truths have also been translated correctly and according to the requirements of Descartes’s philosophy.

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