Reading Questions for 1/21
For Thursday, 1/21, read the first two Meditations with the following questions in mind:
- What, according to Meditation I, can be called into doubt?
- How does the Meditator call into question beliefs about particular existing things that were acquired through the senses?
- How does the Meditator call into question beliefs about the general natures of things and properties like size, shape, and number?
- What prompts the Meditator’s turn to willful self-deception?
- How does the Meditator reach the conclusion that “I am, I exist, is necessarily true whenever it is put forward by me or conceived in my mind”?
- What considerations lead to answering the question “what am I?” with the claim “A thing that thinks”?
- What leads to the conclusion that the mind is better known than the body?
It may take a couple of readings (or more) to get both the general picture and the details. We will focus in class on the claims made and the argumentative structure of the text. In preparation for next Tuesday’s class, I will ask you to do an activity that may provide some additional insight into the spirit of the work and what might be required of us to interpret it charitably (details to follow).
Feel free to suggest initial answers and to pose further questions of the text in the comments section below.