The Rise of Modern Science
1. In a philosophic view, the most significant development in the Renaissance is the shift to a view that human reason has the power to know the truth of reality -- and that reality was neither divine or transcendent (beyond the limits of the natural universe).
2. The Scholastic View had been that human truth is subordinate to a divine, supernatural, and transcendent reality -- one that is forever inaccessible to human reason.
3. By the 16th Century - the best minds of society were attracted to astronomy.
* New and careful astronomical observations were made -- leading to discrepancies and conflicts with the Ptolemaic Theory of Planetary Revolution.
4. Ptolemy (lived in Alexandria, 2nd Century A.D.) held a geocentric view of the universe like most ancient astronomers including Aristotle.
a. Ptolemy's hypothesis was that planets moved around the earth in circles within one large circle.
b. This theory had the additional benefit of being compatible with Church Doctrine on the divine creation of the earth as the center of the universe.
5. The Polish astronomer, Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543) using observation and mathematics (methods of empiricism and rationalism) presented a heliocentric (sun-centered) theory of revolution.
6. The Response of the Church to the Copernican Revolution was immediate and extreme.
a. Supporters of the heliocentric theory were excommunicated from the Church (thus condemned to everlasting hell).
b. These punitive measures were carried out either through the office of the Pope or the courts of the reigning kings.
c. Copernicus himself hesitated to publish his theory fearing Church reaction, but it was unnoticed.
1. In 1600 Bruno was burned at the stake in Rome as an atheist for accepting the Copernican Theory.
2. In 1620 Vanini was burned at the stake in Toulouse as an atheist.
3. In 1621 Fontainier was burned in Paris as an atheist.
7. The Italian astronomer Galileo (1564-1642) attempted to prove the Copernican Theory.
a. Galileo developed a telescope capable of magnifying one thousand times, by which he observed the moons of Jupiter, Saturn's rings, and the moon's surface.
b. Galileo actively tried to publicize the new heliocentric theory and met with strong Church Opposition.
c. In 1632 - he published his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems of the World, in which he supported the Copernican Theory.
1. Galileo was brought before the Inquisition where his book was condemned.
2. Galileo was forced to deny the doctrine upon his knees and to recite seven penitential psalms weekly for three years.
3. He was sentenced to life imprisonment which he served in his own home in Florence until his death.
Descartes: Historical Situation
1. New inventions and theories began to spread through out Europe in the Seventeenth Century.
2. Two elements in the scientific method were identified:
a. The empirical element, the use of sensory observation and experimentation.
b. The rational element, the use of mathematics and deductive reasoning.
3. Conflicting theories of scientific method appeared, depending upon which element (the empirical or the rational) was claimed to be more important.
a. Francis Bacon in England supported empiricism as the triumph of observation and experimentation over reason, theories, and systems.
b. Descartes supported rationalism as the triumph of mathematics, geometry, and deductive reasoning.
4. The 17th Century was a period in which all beliefs were in transition -- it was a change for which medieval scholasticism no longer seemed adequate.
a. A new philosophy was required -- Rene Descartes was the first philosopher of the modern age.
b. He presented the first metaphysical theory in response to the new scientific view of the universe and in relationship to the counter claims of the Church.
The Life of Descartes
1. Descartes was born in 1596 at the start of the 17th Century, four years before Bruno was burned at the stake as a Copernican.
2. Descartes was brought up with all the privileges of noble and upper class life.
a. From ten to eighteen years of age, he attended La Fleche, a famous Jesuit College.
b. He became dissatisfied with his education there and unconvinced of any truth based upon confused ideas and unconfirmed science, and the authoritative dogmas of the Church.
3. This longing for certainty was always paramount for Descartes --but what relation did they have to other kinds of knowledge.
4. In 1618 he joined the army of Prince Maurice of Nassau as an unpaid volunteer.
a. Army volunteer status at that time represented a kind of undemanding war college for young members of the nobility.
b. Descartes was able to follow the advancing army at his own leisure, while studying music and mathematics.
5. In 1619 Descartes transferred to the army of the Duke of Bavaria, and was detained by bad weather in November in the small German town of Ulm.
a. There he had a vision in a dream and in his diary there was the following entry:
"I was filled with enthusiasm, discovered the foundations of a marvelous science, and at the same time my vocation was revealed to me."
b. He took a vow that he would devote the rest of his life to establish this new science.
6. It was a plan for a single, unified science in which philosophy and all science would be interconnected in one systematic totality.
a. All qualitative differences of things would be treated as quantitative differences, and mathematics would be the key to all problems of the universe.
ie. its nature to the idea of proportion or size. (the degree to which something is greater or smaller.)
b. By contrast with Plato, who saw the unity of all sciences in the mystical Idea of the Good, for Descartes the unity of science was a rationalistic and mathematical unity based upon mathematical axioms.
c. By contrast with Medieval Aristotelianism, explaining change teleologically as the movement of matter toward the actualization of form, for Descartes all change is explained mechanically, as the movement of bodies according to laws of physics.
7. The next nine years Descartes devoted himself to working out a method of unifying the sciences.
a. He sold the estates in France which he had inherited from his father to have the funds to pursue his new science.
b. Leisure enabled him to sleep long hours -- he usually stayed in bed until noon and was known as the philosopher who did his best work in bed.
8. Descartes kept himself removed from the moral and political conflicts of his day.
a. He did not become a university professor, since they were so censored by the Church.
b. He decided that he would make no social commitments or marriage that would interfere with his vow to advance knowledge (according to his vision).
c. At the age of thirty-two he settled in Holland where he lived for twenty years enjoying the intellectual and religious toleration of the Dutch Government.
9. In 1622 he finished his Treatise on the World, in which he applied his mathematical method to support the Corpernican Hypothesis.
a. As he was about to publish his Treatise, he learned Galileo had been condemned by the Inquisition and his book had been publicly burned.
b. Descartes immediately stopped publication of his book -saying, "It is imprudent to lose one's life when one can save one's self without dishonor."
10. Three years after his fright at Galileo's punishment, Descartes published an application of his mathematical method to physics:
11. Ten years later in 1647 he published the Meditations on First Philosophy, in 1669 the Meditations were placed on the Index of Prohibited Books to Catholics.
12. The last notable event in Descartes' life was receiving a request from the intellectual Queen Christiana of Sweden to come and help her understand his philosophy.
Theory of Knowledge: Rationalism
1. Reason is universal in all human beings, and it is the only means to certainty in knowledge.
2. Reason is the only way to determine what is morally right and good and what constitutes a good society.
3. In his Discourse on Method, Descartes said:
"Of all who have sought for the truth in the sciences, it has been the mathematicians alone who have been able to succeed in producing reasons which are evident and certain."
ie. the means to establish solid and permanent truth.
4. Descartes tells us in his Rules for the Direction of the Mind --that mathematics consists in the use of two mental operations by which true knowledge can be achieved.
a. He means our understanding of self-evident principles.
ie. a straight line is the shortest distance between two points, the arithmetic equation (3+2=5).
b. These statements are self-evident in that they prove themselves to reason.
c. To understand them is to know that they are absolutely true -- no rational mind can doubt them.
a. He means orderly, logical reasoning or inference from selfevident propositions.
b. Descartes maintains that the chief secret of method is to arrange all facts into a deductive, logical system.
7. Descartes' goal as a philosopher is to build a system of philosophy based upon intuition and deduction which will remain as certain and as imperishable as geometry.
8. He is attempting to establish self-evident principles which will serve as the foundation from which an absolutely certain philosophy can be deduced.
a. Its certainty must be such that it is impossible to doubt, it is self-evident to reason, it is clear (in itself) and distinct (from every other belief).
b. Its certainty must be ultimate and not dependent upon the certainty of any other belief.
c. It must be about something which exists (so that from it, beliefs about the existence of other things may be deduced.)
The Method of Doubt: Skepticism
1. To achieve an absolutely certain philosophy, Descartes says that he must cast doubt upon all his beliefs.
2. Skepticism: is the philosophical position of doubt concerning the reliability of knowledge.
3. Methodological Skepticism (used by Descartes) is the use of doubt methodically in order to arrive at true knowledge.
4. Descartes examined his beliefs by classes or groups to see if there were any that defied doubt by meeting his three criteria.
a. That the proposition be impossible to doubt.
b. That it is an ultimate truth.
c. That it is something that exists.
5. He first examined beliefs of sense perception.
a. These are the most readily believed of all beliefs, but they are often deceptive.
b. What can be seen with the naked eye, can also be denied by the telescope or the microscope.
c. Descartes says that the senses are untrustworthy as a source of certainty.
"Surely I am here, seated by a fire, attired in a dressing gown... I cannot doubt that these hands and this body are mine? Yet have I not dreamed that I was sitting here, and may I not be dreaming now?"
d. Then he addresses his beliefs in material things or his belief that a physical world exists:
7. Beliefs based on the Natural Sciences must also be doubted because they are based upon objects known by sense perception which he had established to be untrustworthy.
8. Descartes then examines his mathematical beliefs:
a. These beliefs are not rendered doubtful by being derived from sense perception.
b. These beliefs are known by reason, not by the senses -- for a lack of reason to doubt them Descartes invents one.
c. Descartes: "Suppose there is an evil and powerful demon who deceives me in all the things I think I know best?"
1. Then one would always be in error and would always be deceived.
2. He admits that this is an exaggerated doubt, but then can any belief withstand the doubting of all beliefs on the grounds of being deceived by some malevolent demon.
9. There is one belief that cannot be doubted -- every time I doubt, I must exist to doubt.
a. In doubting the truth of every other belief, I cannot doubt the belief that I am doubting, therefore I exist.
b. One belief remains true: at any moment that I am conscious of thinking, or of any mental act (ie. being conscious of doubting or willing), I exist as a thinking thing.
10. Cogito, ergo sum: I think, therefore I am.
a. Thinking for Descartes includes any act of consciousness that we are immediately aware of.
b. Thinking includes doubting, understanding, affirming, denying, willing, refusing, feeling.
11. Cogito and Descartes' Criteria for his philosophy:
a. That it is impossible to doubt: Every time I doubt it, I affirm it by thinking.
b. That it is an ultimate truth: The cogito is not inferred from a higher (more ultimate) truth -- all who think, exist.
c. That it is something that exists: The Cogito refers to me, who exists as a thinking thing.
12. The most frequent criticism is that the Cogito Proof does not meet the second requirement.
a. That things which are substances do exist.
b. That thinking or any other action or state can exist only as the action or state of a substance.
13. The Conclusion or Premise: Every time I am conscious of thinking, I, a thinking substance, exist; and thinking is an action which can exist only as the action or state of a substance.
14. Descartes bases his entire philosophy on the truth of Cogito:
ie. When I am conscious of thinking, I know I exist -- it is an absolute, certain truth.
a. Descartes' Cogito Proof introduces subjectivism into modern philosophy.
b. It is the doctrine that all knowledge is limited to experiences of the self, and that transcendent knowledge is impossible.
c. For subjectivism the knowledge of existence of everything other than my own mind becomes questionable, problematic.
1. The existence of my body, the sun, other minds, God, the physical universe -- these must be proved to exist.
2. They can only be proved to exist by inference from my consciousness and its content which is all that can be known with certainty.
Theory of Knowledge: Ideas
1. By "idea" Descartes means anything one is conscious of:
a. Feelings: of joy or pain or empathy.
b. Sense Perceptions: of the sun, or of a tree, or of crowds of people on a street.
c. Recollections or Memories: of one's childhood, or of a recent war, or of a public scandal.
d. Thoughts of the intellect or reason: scientific, mathematical or philosophical statements.
2. Descartes identifies three main features of ideas:
ie. Where they come from, what kind of reality they have, and what they refer to.
3. Source or Origin of Ideas: Descartes says that there are three kinds of ideas related to the question of source.
a. Innate: Ideas that are born with everyone, and appear to come from our own nature -- they are known by our own reasoning power.
ie. the ideas of substance or things, cause, existence, time, space, the basic principles of mathematics and logic.
b. Factitious: Ideas which appear to be invented by human imagination.
ie. mermaids, unicorns, utopias, or future worlds.
c. Adventitious: Ideas which appear to come from outside us (which nature seems to suggest to us).
ie. hearing noises, seeing the sun, trees, or colors.
4. The Reality of Ideas: since ideas are present in our mind, they have actual existence in our minds.
5. Objective Reality (3rd feature) consists of ideas referring to objects (what they are about).
The Idea of God
1. Descartes: "All these ideas could possibly be factitious, my invention, made up, or caused by me, except for the Idea of God.
2. Descartes: "By the name God I understand a substance which is infinite, independent, all-knowing, all-powerful, and by which I myself and everything else that does exist, have been created."
3. He maintains that the Idea of God exists in our minds only because a real God exists who is the cause of the idea.
4. First Proof of God: Ideas and Causes
a. All ideas are the effects of causes, so there must be a cause for our Idea of God.
b. There are three self-evident propositions about causes.
1. There must be as much reality in the cause as in its effect (ie. where else can it derive its reality).
2. Something cannot proceed from nothing.
3. What is more perfect cannot proceed from the less perfect.
c. Therefore nothing could cause the Idea of God as a perfect substance that is not as perfect as the idea.
d. Man is finite and imperfect, and the Idea of God is infinite and perfect -- since the cause must be as great as the effect, God is the only possible cause of the Idea of God.
5. Doctrine of Innate Ideas
a. Descartes maintains that the Idea of God is innate and native to one's mind.
ie. God has imprinted it in us as the work man who has fashioned us.
b. Many ideas are imprinted in us at birth: God , cause, substance, logic, and mathematics.
c. Innate Ideas are not derived from experience, nor do they require empirical evidence to prove them.
d. We know that they are absolutely certain truths since God has been proven to exist.
6. The Second Proof of God
a. Descartes: "Can I, who have the idea of an infinite and perfect being, exist if this being does not exist?"
b. This is also based on the idea of Cogito (existence as a conscious being having ideas).
c. Possible Causes of One's Existence: myself, my parents, a source less perfect than God or the Idea of God.
1. If I were the author of myself and independent of everything else, I would lack nothing, doubt nothing and desire nothing.
2. Not my parents or any other cause less perfect than God.
3. Thus God exists as the only possible cause of my existence as a thinking thing.
7. The Third Proof of God:
a. It is also based on Cogito and the other two proofs that preceded it.
b. Descartes: All the properties I clearly and distinctly conceive God to have, truly belong to Him.
c. Existence belongs to the nature of God as a perfect being.
d. Ontological Proof of God: since God is a perfect being, His nature must therefore have the perfection of existence.
The Cartesian Circle: Criticism of Descartes' Idea of God
1. Descartes has used the proof that a perfect, non-deceiving God exists in order to establish that I can trust my clear and distinct ideas.
2. He used the very clear and distinct ideas (ie. substance, cause, the effect cannot be greater than the cause) that God's existence was supposed to guarantee.
3. God guarantees my clear and distinct ideas, but my clear and distinct ideas are what guarantee the existence of God.
4. To prove that my clear and distinct ideas are true, Descartes had to show that God exists and that He is not a deceiver.
a. In proving that God exists he relies on the truth of clear and distinct ideas that God's existence was supposed to guarantee.
b. God's existence is guaranteed by the clear and distinct ideas that His existence was supposed to guarantee.
Proof of the Existence of Physical Substance
1. Descartes has proved that I exist as a thinking substance, and that God exists as a perfect substance.
2. Now Descartes attempts to prove that physical substances exist independently of one's mind, that physical things in a physical universe exist externally to the self, a thinking thing.
3. Descartes has already shown that empirical knowledge (sense perception) is deceptive and untrustworthy.
4. Nothing exists without a cause -- then, what is the cause of my idea of bodies, of the physical universe.
a. Could I be the cause of my idea of physical bodies? -- No, These ideas of physical bodies were passively received by me, and do not depend upon my willing them.
b. Descartes: As the effect must be like the cause, the cause of the idea of physical substance must be itself a physical substance.
c. Could God be the cause of this idea -- then God would be deceiving me to believe that the cause of these ideas is in physical things.
d. Conclusion: Physical things exist as the causes of our ideas of them.
5. Descartes also says that material bodies do not exist exactly as our senses show them to be.
a. It is only my clear and distinct idea of physical things that can tell me what their true nature is.
b. Descartes: Do I have a clear and distinct idea of physical things. (?)
The Piece of Wax
1. Descartes: "Let us take this piece of wax. Not long ago it was in the beehive. It has not yet lost the sweetness of the honey. It still has something of the scent of flowers from which the bees made it. Its color, shape, and size are observable to sight. It is hard and cold to the touch. If you strike it, it will give off an audible sound."
2. Descartes has shown how each one of the senses will respond to a piece of wax.
a. Descartes now puts a flame to the wax -- those qualities (properties) which were perceived by the senses are now changed.
b. Descartes argues that the real properties of anything are those that remain constant through out change.
3. The property that remains in the wax is that it is something that is extended and changeable.
a. The properties of being extended in space and capable of change are the only true characteristics of the wax or of any material body.
b. These are the qualities (properties) known by reason (intellect) and not by the senses.
4. Conclusion: Nothing belongs to physical things but extension in space, length, breadth, and depth in various sizes and shapes, and in motion.
a. Physical objects only have the qualities of spatial extension, of size and shape, and the capacity of motion.
b. Question: are the qualities of color, touch, taste, smell, and sound part of physical things.
c. Descartes says only what Galileo had said -- that the only objective,real qualities of physical objects are the qualities of being extended in space with some size and shape, and being capable of motion.
d. He also argues that these are the qualities which a physical body must have in order to be a physical thing.
a. Color, taste, sound are not qualities that are necessary to the existence of a physical thing.
ie. having spatial extension, size and shape.
b. We have a clear and distinct idea of spatial extension as the essential quality of the piece of wax, but we do not have a clear and distinct idea of color as an essential.
c. Descartes says that qualities that are apprehended by the senses exist only in us and not in the physical object.
6. Secondary Qualities identified by empiricists as color, taste, sound which Descartes calls adventitious (they exist in us not in physical objects).
Primary Qualities are qualities Descartes calls innate that are known by reason as necessary to the existence of physical objects.
ie. size, shape, and the capacity of motion.
7. Empiricist's Criticism: argued that both primary and secondary qualities are known only through the senses.
Mechanism: The Clockwork Universe
1. Descartes' theory of the physical universe is called mechanism. Mechanism: is the theory that all of nature can be explained by the mechanical motion of material substances.
2. Mechanistic view of the world -- the world is infinite in extension, with bodies of all shapes and sizes continually moving and changing.
a. All motion of bodies is due to mechanical impact, like the mechanical workings in a clock.
b. The physical universe consists of bodies of various geometrical sizes and shapes (colorless, soundless, without smell, taste, or texture).
c. They move or impact with one another in purposeless, mechanical motion in a clockwork universe.
Theory of Animals as Mechanical Clockworks
1. Descartes is famous for his view that animals are automata, mechanically responsive to the stimulus of other bodies.
2. Descartes would be called a behaviorist today with regard to animals.
a. He denied that animals have reason, intelligence, mind, or any inner mental states.
b. Such feelings as they have arise only from the mechanical motions of their bodies.
c. Descartes reduced animals to being nothing but matter in motion -- he claimed that if machines were made to look like animals, we could not tell them apart.
3. Descartes: "The fact that animals cannot use language to express themselves does not show merely that they have less reason than man, but that they have none at all, since it is clear that very little is required in order to be able to talk."
a. He says that it is true that animals are sometimes very skillful (ie. a beaver building a dam) -- it actually shows that they have no reason at all.
b. It is nature that acts in them according to the disposition of their organs -- like a clock that is able to tell time more accurately than human wisdom.
4. Darwin's theory of evolution maintaining that there is a common origin of all living species opposes Descartes' theory of animals.
a. Descartes sees rationality as completely separating humans from animals by an unbridgeable gulf.
b. Darwin's theory shows no sharp division or separation, but a continuous gradation of capacities and functions (from the lowest organism to the human species).
5. Medieval scholastic philosophers and Catholic theologians had argued that there is a continuity of all living species and that animals do indeed have souls.
6. For Descartes whatever is not a rational, thinking, substance is nothing but a mechanism, nothing but matter in motion.
7. Descartes believed that human beings are thinking, rational, moral, and spiritual beings.
a. Man is not extended in space and cannot be a mere clockwork as animals are for him.
ie. Man as a conscious thinking being.
b. Any human activity that does not depend upon thinking is to Descartes as mechanical as animal behavior.
ie. beating of the heart,digestion, respiration, circulation of the blood.
Theory of Physical and Mental Substances
1. Reality includes self, God, and matter -- all are substances (since everything is either a substance or an attribute.
a. Descartes defines a substance as a thing which so exists that it needs not other thing in order to exist.
b. Only God in a strict sense can be a substance -- all other substances require God to exist.
2. Thinking Substances: the mind, it occupies no space, is not in motion, is not part of any clockwork, has the capacity of reasoning, remembering, denying; has free will and is morally responsible for actions.
3. Physical Substances: matter by contrast is spatially extended, is in mechanical motion, is infinitely divisible, is totally determined by the impact of other bodies, without the capacity for reasoning; without free will or any moral qualities.
a. Each kind of substance is independent of the other.
b. For each kind of substance there is a distinct and appropriate discipline which studies it.
1. Matter is studied by physics, the new science of Copernicus and Galileo.
2. Mind is studied by Theology and Philosophy.
1. The most striking feature of Cartesian metaphysics is the division between mental, spiritual, thinking substance and physical, spatial, extended substance.
2. Metaphysical Dualism is a metaphysical theory which claims that there are two ultimate and irreducible kinds of reality.
3. Cartesian metaphysical dualism is called psycho-physical dualism.
4. Cartesian Psychophysical Dualism
a. Cartesian metaphysics has formulated a system in terms of substances, one mental and one physical.
b. He established the principle property of each kind of substance by the question:
"What is my clear and distinct idea of this thing, what is my clear and distinct idea of its essential, necessary quality or attribute?
c. For the mental, spiritual substance the principal attribute is thinking -- it is the substance which is conscious.
ie. the principal attribute that is lacking in the physical world.
d. For physical substance the principal attribute is being extended in space.
ie. It is the very attribute a property is lacking in mental substances.
5. There is no way in which the absolute difference between these two kinds of reality can ever be bridged.
The Problem of Free Will and Determinism
1. Cartesian views that need to be kept in mind are: nothing comes from nothing and everything that exists has a cause.
2. Determinism developed historically as the view that everything that exists is the necessary and inevitable result of its antecedent causes and could not be otherwise than it is.
3. The Doctrine of Free Will is the denial that determinism applies to the actions of human beings.
a. It claims that human actions, unlike the mechanical motion of planets or of clockwork machinery, are not determined by antecedent causes.
b. Man is a conscious, thinking substance and he is free in his actions and moral choices (ie. they are not causally determined).
c. Since Man's will is free, since antecedent causes do not dictate his actions, he is responsible for his actions.
4. The Doctrine of Determinism
5. Question: What is the relationship of the Cartesian mental substance (morally responsible) and the physical substance (that is not morally responsible).
The Mind-Body Problem
1. The individual human (Man) can be viewed as being split in two by Cartesian psychophysical dualism:
a. Man is a thinking thing, a mind, a consciousness with free will.
b. Man is also a body, spatially extended, a measurable, organic mechanism which is causally determined.
2. Descartes - in Meditation VI: "Since on the one hand I have a clear and distinct idea of myself insofar as I am only a thinking thing and not an extended being,and since on the other hand I have a distinct idea of my body insofar as it is only an extended substance which does not think, it is certain that this I (that is to say, my soul, by virtue of which I am and what I am) is entirely and truly distinct from my body and that it can exist without it."
3. Criticism of Descartes: (Antoine Arnaud) -- was the first to point out the Cartesian Circle.
a. "Since Descartes has clearly and distinctly perceived himself to be a thinking thing, this leads to the conclusion that man is entirely spirit, while his body is merely the vehicle of spirit, whence follows the definition of man as a spirit which makes use of a body."
b. Descartes' extreme dualism of mind and body has presented two substances so completely different that there can be no interaction between one's mind and body.
4. Descartes was attempting a compromise between the new science (physics - motion) and the Church.
a. For the Church, truth about reality comes from divine revelation, not from science.
b. Descartes believed that his dualism provided a compromise to the struggle between the new science and the Church.
ie. A dualism of completely distinct substances.
1. The physical substance would be the area of the new science.
2. The mental substance would be the area of the Church.
5. Descartes himself was unhappy with his psychophysical dualism --since, he was aware of interaction between the mind and body.
a. He tried to show that interaction was possible strictly in line with his dualistic theory.
b. Descartes maintained that interaction was possible because the soul is primarily located in the pineal gland in the brain.
c. There (the pineal gland) it performs its mental functions and also receives sensations from the body.
6. Failure of the Cartesian Compromise:
a. Descartes presents mind and body as distinct substances, but this contradicts the reality of interaction between the mind and the body.
b. Then Descartes attempts to show interaction between mind and body rather than their being separate and distinct.
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and The Leviathon
1. Hobbes' father was a vicar, who was ill-tempered and uneducated -he lost his job by quarreling with a neighboring vicar at the church-door.
2. Hobbes was then brought up by his uncle who took extreme interest in his education.
a. He acquired a good knowledge of the Classics translating the Medea of Euripides into Latin at the age of fourteen.
b. At fifteen, he went to Oxford where he was taught scholastic logic and the philosophy of Aristotle.
c. He maintained that he had not benefited from these years and became very critical of universities in general in his writings.
3. In 1610 at the age of twenty-two, he became the tutor of Lord Hardwick (afterwards second Earl of Devonshire) with whom he made a tour of Europe.
a. It was during this period that he became acquainted with the works of Galileo and Kepler which greatly influenced him.
b. Hardwick became his patron and remained so until his death in 1628 introducing Hobbes to men like Ben Johnson and Francis Bacon.
c. After the death of the Earl of Devonshire, Hobbes lived for a period of time in Paris where he studied Euclid.
d. Eventually he became the tutor of his former patron's son, and traveled to Italy with him where he met Galileo in 1636.
4. The political opinions expressed in the Leviathon, which were Royalist and Absolutist, had been held by Hobbes for a long time.
a. In 1628 when Parliament passed the Petition of Right, Hobbes published a translation of Thucydides.
b. In 1640 when the Long Parliament met and sent Laud and Strafford to the tower, Hobbes fled for France.
5. In his book De Cive, written in 1641 but not published until 1647, Hobbes set forth essentially the same theory as the Leviathon.
6. Hobbes found a warm welcome by the intellectual community and men of science when he arrived in Paris.
a. He saw Descartes' Meditations before they were published, and wrote his objections to them.
b. There was also a large community of English Royalist refugees with whom he associated.
7. In 1651 Hobbes published the Leviathon -- it pleased no one.
a. Its rationalism offended most of the refugees, and its attacks on the Roman Catholic Church offended the French Government.
b. Hobbes fled secretly to London where he submitted to Cromwell promising to abstain from all political activity.
8. At the Restoration in 1660-Charles II who had a portrait of Hobbes on his wall granted him a pension of 100 pounds a year.
a. The Lord Chancellor Clarendon was shocked by the favor shown to a man suspected of atheism (this view was also shared by Parliament).
b. In 1666 after the Great Fire and the Plague, the House of Commons appointed a committee to inquire into atheistic writings, specifically mentioning Hobbes.
c. Hobbes was legally prohibited from printing anything of a controversial nature in England.
1. His history of the Long Parliament which he called Behemoth had to be printed abroad in 1668.
2. The collected edition of his works in 1688 appeared in Amsterdam.
The Leviathon - Hobbes' fame rests mainly on the doctrines in this book.
1. Life is nothing but a motion of the limbs, and therefore automata (mechanical or artificial).
2. Sensations are caused by the pressure of objects -- colors, sounds etc. are not in its objects.
3. Imagination is a decaying sense, being a motion.
4. Hobbes maintained that reason is not innate, but is developed by industry (Determinist View).
5. Then Hobbes considers the question of Passions.
a. Desire is motion towards something, and aversion is motion away from something.
b. A thing is "good" when it is the object of desire, and a thing is "bad" when it is an object of aversion.
c. This is not an objective view of good and bad since men differ in their desires.
d. "Will" is not something that is different from desire and aversion, but merely strongest in a case of conflict.
6. Unlike most defenders of absolute government, Hobbes maintains that all men are naturally equal.
a. In a state of nature man desires to preserve his own liberty and to acquire power over others.
b. These desires are dictated by the natural impulse of self-preservation.
c. In a state of nature - there is no property, no justice, or injustice, there is only war.
1. War arises from the conflict of individual freedom and the desire of power over others.
2. The chief virtues in war are fraud and force.
7. The Social Contract: the means to escape these evils.
a. It is supposed that a number of people come together and agree to choose a sovereign, or a sovereign body, that shall exercise authority over them and put an end to universal war.
b. It is used to explain why men submit and should submit to limitations of personal freedom.
c. The purpose of submission to central authority is self-preservation from universal war.
d. The covenant (as Hobbes calls it) must confer power on one man or one assembly, since otherwise power cannot be enforced.
e. It is a covenant made by citizens with each other to obey such ruling power as the majority shall choose.
1. The minority is as much bound as the majority, since the covenant was to obey the government chosen by the majority.
2. When the government has been chosen, the citizens lose all rights except those that the government grants.
8. Hobbes prefers monarchy, but his abstract arguments are applicable to all forms of government in which there is one supreme authority not limited by the legal rights of others.
a. He could tolerate Parliament alone, but not a system in which governmental power is shared between king and Parliament.
b. According to Hobbes, the English Civil War occurred because power was divided between King, Lords, and Commons.
c. The supreme power, whether a man or an assembly, is called the Sovereign -- in Hobbes' system, the powers of the sovereign are unlimited (absolute).
d. He has the right of censorship over all expression of opinion -- the purpose of it is the preservation of internal peace and not the suppression of truth.
e. The laws of property are to be entirely subject to the sovereign.
9. The part (role) of the people ends completely with the first choice of a sovereign.
a. The succession is to be determined by the sovereign, as was the practice in the Roman Empire.
b. Subjects (citizens) are free where the laws do not interfere -- this is no limitation on the sovereignty since laws could interfere if the sovereign so decided.
c. There is one limitation on the duty of submission to the sovereign.
1. The right self-preservation is regarded as absolute, and subjects have the right of self-defense, even against monarchs.
2. Resistance to the sovereign is only justified in self-defense -- resistance in defense of another is always culpable.
d. Also, a man has no duty to a sovereign who has no power to protect him.
10. In politics, there are two different questions: what is the best form of the state; what powers should the state possess.
a. According to Hobbes, the best form of government is monarchy, but this was not the important part of his doctrine.
b. The important part is Hobbes' position that the powers of the state should be absolute.
c. Hobbes maintained that Henry VIII had established the power (supremacy) of the king, but the Puritans had undone the work of Henry VIII.
d. He believed that the work of the Puritans showed that anarchy must result from resistance to the sovereign.
11. Every community is faced with two dangers: one is anarchy and the other is despotism.
a. The Puritans, especially the Separatists, were influenced and motivated by the danger of despotism.
ie. The English Civil War
b. Liberal Philosophers who appeared after the Restoration (1660), and acquired control after 1688 (The Glorious Revolution) were aware of both dangers.
c. This led Locke to the doctrine of division of powers, and checks and balances.
d. Critical View: "In England there was a real division of powers so long as the king had influence; then Parliament became supreme, and ultimately the Cabinet."
12. The reason that Hobbes gives for supporting the State is that it is the only alternative to anarchy.
a. The merits of Hobbes appear most clearly when he is compared with earlier political theorists.
b. He is free from superstition and is clear and logical in the development of his theory.
c. His ethics of right and wrong is intelligible, and he does not use dubious concepts such as Divine Right.
13. Hobbes always considers national interests as a whole, and assumes that the major interests of all citizens are the same.
a. He does not realize the importance of the clash between different classes which Marx makes the chief cause of social change.
b. This is connected with the assumption that the interests of a monarch are identified with his subjects.
c. In times of war there is a unification of interests, but in times of peace there is an inevitable clash between the interests of one class and those of another.
d. Critical View: Hobbes would maintain that the absolute power of the sovereign would be the only way to avert anarchy.
1. Critics maintain that this position will eventually lead to Civil War.
2. They believe that sharing of power is the only way that civil war can be avoided.
14. Another limitation of Hobbes' doctrine is in the area of International Relations.
a. There is no word in the Leviathon to suggest any relation between nations except for war and conquest.
b. Since there is an absence of international government, the relationship between nations is still in a state of nature.
c. Hobbes' Conclusion: "To improve the fighting quality of separate States without having any means of preventing war is the road to universal destruction."
ie. The means, some form of international government.
Historical Context of 17th Century England
1. The principles for which the Civil War was fought and for which the Long Parliament had attempted to establish.
a. To abolish the king's right to grant trade monopolies, and to make him recognize the exclusive right of Parliament to impose taxes.
b. They desired liberty within the Church of England for opinions and practices which were persecuted by Archbishop Laud.
c. Parliament should meet at stated intervals, and not on rare occasions when the king felt it was necessary.
d. They objected to arbitrary arrests and judges submitting to royal wishes (will).
2. There were many who were prepared to work toward these ends, but were not prepared to wage open war against the king.
ie. Viewing war against the king as an act of treason. When war came the division of forces were nearly equal.
3. Political Developments from the outbreak of Civil War to the establishment of Cromwell as Lord Protector.
a. The Parliamentary Party consisted of two factions, the Presbyterians and the Separatists.
1. The Presbyterians wanted to preserve a State Church, but to abolish bishops.
2. The Separatists wanted the removal of bishops, but held that each congregation should be free of any central ecclesiastical government.
b. The Presbyterians were more moderate in their views, and wanted to come terms with the king as soon as he was defeated.
c. The Presbyterian Policy proved impossible:
1. Charles I even with his defeat would not give in on the issue of bishops.
2. The defeat of the king had proved difficult, and it was only achieved by Cromwell's New Model Army which was made up of Separatists.
d. When the king's military resistance was broken, he refused to negotiate or make a treaty with the Separatists.
e. The defense of democracy had put power in the hands of a minority who used it with complete disregard for democracy and parliamentary government.
f. Prides's Purge
1. About 100 Presbyterian members of Parliament were dismissed.
2. The King was found guilty of treason and England was declared a Commonwealth.
g. For the rest of Cromwell's life, the government of England was a military dictatorship.
4. 1660: The Restoration of Charles II
a. He claimed no power to impose taxes not sanctioned by Parliament.
b. He agreed to the Habeas Corpus Act which deprived the crown of the power of arbitrary arrest.
c. At times he could ignore Parliament because of subsidies granted by Louis XIV, but on the whole he was a constitutional monarch.
d. Most limitations of royal power established by opponents of Charles I were agreed to at the Restoration.
ie. Kings could be made to suffer at the hands of their subjects.
5. James II with his biased Catholicism united against him both Anglicans and Non-Conformists.
6. The Stuarts in order to avoid dependence upon Parliament for money pursued a policy of subservience, first to Spain and then to France.
ie. Grants of subsidies.
7. The growing power of France as the leading Continental Power roused a great deal of hostility in England.
8. The repeal of the Edict of Nantes made Protestants bitterly opposed to Louis XIV.
9. James II had to be removed, but without the upheaval Civil War and dictatorship.
10. William and Mary were asked to ascend the throne of England as joint monarchs.
a. William was more concerned with Continental matters and left government in the hands of Parliament as long as it pursued an anti-French policy.
b. The Act of Toleration put an end to formal persecution except for Catholics and Non-Conformists.
John Locke (1632-1704)
1. He has been referred to as the apostle of the Revolution of 1688 (the most moderate and the most successful of Revolutions).
2. Its aims were achieved and no subsequent revolution has been necessary -- Locke is seen as embodying the spirit of that revolution.
3. Locke's father was a Puritan and fought on the side of Parliament during the Civil War.
4. When Locke was at Oxford, it was still scholastic in its philosophy.
a. He disliked both scholasticism and the fanaticism of the Separatists.
b. He was greatly influenced in his thinking by Descartes -eventually he became a physician.
5. His influence on the philosophy of politics was so great and so lasting that he is considered the founder of Philosophical Liberalism.
6. He completed his work in theoretical philosophy at the same time when men who shared his political views were coming to power.
a. Both in practice and in theory, the views which he advocated were held for many years to come by the most influential politicians and philosophers.
b. His political doctrines, with developments from Montesquieu, are embedded in the American Constitution.
LOCKE'S POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
The Hereditary Principle
1. In 1689 and 1690 - Locke wrote his Two Treatises on Government (of which the second is very important in the history of political ideas).
2. The first treatise is a criticism of the doctrine of hereditary power:
a. It was a reply to Sir Robert Filmer's Patriarcha: or The Natural Power of Kings (it was published in 1680 but it had been written during the reign of Charles I).
b. Filmer was a devout supporter of the divine right of kings,but had the misfortune to live until 1653 (seeing the execution of Charles I and the victory of Cromwell).
3. Filmer held that by the English Constitution:
a. The Lords only give counsel to the king, and the Commons have even less power.
b. The King alone makes the laws, which proceed solely from from his will.
c. The King is perfectly free from all human control, and cannot be bound by acts of his predecessors or even his own.
4. The Patriarcha was an attack on the "common opinion" that mankind is naturally endowed and born with freedom from all subjection, and is at liberty to choose what form of government it pleases, and what power any man has was bestowed by the discretion of the multitude.
a. God granted kingly power to Adam, from whom it descended to his heirs, and ultimately to the various monarchs of modern times.
b. Our first parent, it seems, did not adequately appreciate his privilege as universal monarch because the desire for liberty was the first cause of the fall of Adam.
5. Even before the Reformation, theologians believed in setting limits on royal power.
a. This was part of the battle between Church and State which dominated Europe during most of the Middle Ages.
b. Filmer says that theologians attempted to place the king below the pope, so that papal power might take the place of royal power.
c. Theologian Bellarmine: "Secular power is granted by man and is in the people unless they bestow it on a prince."
Filmer interprets this as Bellarmine saying that God (as the creator of Man) was the author of the democratic estate.
6. Filmer: political power is not derived from any contract, nor any consideration of the public good, but entirely from the natural authority of a father over his children.
7. The defeat of theories of divine right, in England, were due to two main causes:
a. One was the multiplicity of religious outlooks.
b. Power struggle between the monarchy, aristocracy, and the rich middle class.
a. Since the reign of Henry VIII, the king was the head of the Church of England which was opposed to Rome and most Protestant sects.
b. The Church of England claimed to be a compromise, a mean between two extremes.
c. Attempts to return it to Rome (Mary and James II) or transform it into a Calvinist Church (Civil War) had failed.
d. The position of the Church was unchallenged after 1688, yet Non-Conformist merchants and bankers could still be influential.
e. Religious claims on behalf of the monarchy ceased to have significance.
9. The three parties of king, aristocracy, and rich middle class made different alliances at different times. (ie. for power)
a. Under Edward IV (Model Parliament) the king and the middle class combined against the aristocracy.
b. In 1688 the aristocracy and middle class combined against the king.
c. When the king had one of the other parties on his side, he was strong; when they were against him he was weak.
Locke and the Hereditary Principle
1. Locke points out that, if parental power is the basis of authority, the mother's power should be equal to the father's.
2. He emphasizes the injustice of primogeniture, which is unavoidable if inheritance is to be the basis of monarchy.
3. Locke points out the absurdity of supposing that actual monarchs are, in any real sense, the heirs of Adam.
a. Adam can have only one heir, but no one knows who he is -if one could be found.
b. All monarchs except one would be usurpers; and would have no right to obedience from their subjects.
4. Locke also maintains that parental power is temporary, and does not extend to life or property.
The State of Nature and Natural Law
1. Locke begins his Second Treatise of Government by saying that, having shown the impossibility of deriving the authority of government from that of a father, he will now set forth what he conceives to be the true origin or government.
2. Locke maintains that there was a "state of nature" which is a pre-condition to all human government.
a. In this state there is a "law of nature" which consists of divine commands and is not imposed by any human legislature.
b. He maintains that Man emerged from the state of nature by means of a social contract that created civil government.
3. What Locke has to say about the state of nature and the law of nature is, on the whole, not original, but a repetition of medieval scholastic doctrine.
Saint Thomas Aquinas:
"Every law formed by man bears the character of a law exactly to that extent to which it is derived from the law of nature. But if on any point it is in conflict with the law of nature, it at once ceases to be a law; it is a mere perversion of law."
4. Locke's View (ie. from his predecessors) of the state of nature and natural law cannot be freed from its theological basis.
ie. Where it does exist without it, it lacks a logical foundation.
a. The belief in a happy "state of nature" in the remote past is derived partly from the biblical narrative of the age of patriarchs and the classical myth of the golden age.
b. The general belief of a remote past that was bad, evil (hard, difficult) comes from the doctrine of evolution.
5. Locke's Definition of the "State of Nature":
"Men living together according to reason, without a common superior on earth, with authority to judge between them, is properly the state of nature."
a. This is not a world of savages, but a community of virtuous anarchists who need no police or law courts because they always obey reason.
ie. Reason being natural law.
b. Yet, there will be some men in a state of nature who will not live according to the law of nature.
c. Locke maintains that in a state of nature every man has the right to protect himself.
"Who so sheddeth man's blood, by man his blood be shed."
6. Objection/Criticism of the State of Nature:
a. Every man is the judge of his own actions, and must rely upon himself for the defense of his rights.
b. This evil can only be remedied by the establishment of government.
c. The state of nature was evaded by the creation of government --- it did not disappear.
d. Now the various independent states are in a "state of nature" toward one another -- this will not end until One body Politic is established.
7. Property is very prominent in Locke's political philosophy, and it is the chief reason for the institution of civil government.
a. A man has a legal right when he can appeal to law to safeguard himself against injury.
b. When a man suffers an injury which would justify retaliation according to natural law, "positive law" should be enacted by the state.
8. Natural Law decides what actions would be ethically right and wrong in a community without a government.
The Social Contract
1. In the 17th Century there were two main theories on the origin of government:
a. God had granted power to certain individuals and their heirs who constituted legitimate government.
b. Civil government is the result of a contract and is an affair of this world -- not something established by divine authority.
2. The contract theory was capable of justifying a totalitarian, absolute from of government.
3. In Locke's Contract Doctrine the government is a party to the contract, and it can be resisted if it fails to fulfill its part of the contract.
4. The purpose of Government is to remedy the problem, from the state of nature, that each individual is the judge and defender of his own cause.
a. From this premise, government should not be absolute so that the king is not both judge and plaintiff.
b. Locke establishes the belief that the judiciary should be independent of the executive.
5. By nature every man has the right to punish attacks on himself or property.
a. A political society is created when man has surrendered this right to the community or to the law.
b. Absolute Monarchy is not a form of civil government since there is no neutral authority to decide disputes between king and subject.
c. The king is still in a state of nature since he has not submitted himself to the community of law.
6. Locke maintains that Civil Society involves the rule of the majority.
7. The Civil Contract which established government only binds those who made it.
a. The son must consent on his own to the contract made by his father.
b. The power of government by contract must never extend beyond the common good.
1. Locke: "The great and chief end of men writing into the commonwealth, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property."
2. Men have a right to self-preservation and therefore to such things as they need for their subsistence.
3. By labor, man removes things from a state of nature and makes them his property.
a. Without labor, the earth and things in general have very little value.
b. Man may not deprive another of the means of self-preservation by over-extending his reach for property.
4. One of the primary ends of government is to preserve the rights of property, as well as to make laws governing the use, distribution, and transference of property.
a. Under government there are fixed boundaries to common territory, and there is land and property held in common which no one may appropriate for himself.
b. Those who are not members of the community have no right to such land.
Checks and Balances
1. The doctrine that the legislative, executive, and judicial functions of government should be kept separate is characteristic of liberalism.
a. It arose in England in the course of resistance to the Stuarts, and was clearly formulated by Locke.
ie. At least in regards to the legislature and the executive.
b. The legislature and executive must be separate to prevent abuse of power -- the legislature being parliament, and the executive being the king.
2. The legislature must be supreme in respect to law and be removable by the community.
a. Locke implies that the English House of Commons, the legislature, is to be elected periodically by popular vote.
b. If the executive fails to summon the legislature at proper times, the executive is then at war with the people and may be removed.
ie. Charles I ruled without Parliament from 1628-1640.
c. Locke says that "force is only to be used against unjust and unlawful force".
1. This principle can only be applied when there is some institution that can determine what is "unjust and unlawful".
ie. Charles I and ship money.
2. Locke as well as others took the position that any honest man can know what is just and lawful.
Problem: such problems are normally decided by power and not by justice or law.
3. Locke says nothing about the role of the Judiciary (though it was a central, intense issue in his day).
a. Until the Revolution of 1688, judges could be dismissed by the king -- consequently, they condemned enemies and acquitted his friends.
b. After the Revolution, they were made irremovable except by an act of both Houses of Parliament.
4. The Doctrine of Checks and Balances was intended to limit the power of the king who had complete control of the executive until the Revolution.
a. The executive became dependent upon Parliament, since it was impossible for a governmental ministry to function without a majority in Parliament.
b. The executive became a committee chosen by Parliament resulting in a decrease in the separation between the legislative and executive branches. (ie. Cabinet System)
c. The majority in Parliament now decides which party shall be in power -- proposed legislation is hardly ever enacted unless introduced by the government.
d. Thus government became both legislative and executive.
5. Locke's principle of division of power found its fullest application in the United States.