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Silencing the Demon's Advocate
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Silencing the Demon's Advocate: The Strategy of Descartes' Meditations

Ronald Rubin

Abstract

This book attempts to explain The Meditations (1641), a classic of Western philosophy in which Descartes tries to reach a predetermined end (“perfect certainty”) by means of a definite method (“the method of doubt”). The author argues that many problems of interpretation—including notorious problems of circularity—arise from a failure to recognize that Descartes' strategy for attaining certainty is not to add support for his beliefs, but to subtract grounds for doubt. To explain this strategy, he views Descartes as playing the role of a fictional character—The Demon's Advocate—whose beliefs ar ... More

Keywords: Meditations, Western philosophy, Descartes, predetermined end, perfect certainty, definite method, method of doubt, problems of interpretation, circularity, Demon's Advocate

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2008 Print ISBN-13: 9780804758161
Published to University Press Scholarship Online: June 2013 DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804758161.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ronald Rubin, author