Philosophical Foundations 1/13/10

Descartes – I think therefore I am

Jesuit schools
Thought he could prove the existence of God

But his philosophy ends up lending itself to atheist and agnostic belief structures

He was looking for absolute certainty

Kant – starts with subject and moves to the world, unlike other philosophers

What does Descartes think the human person is?

Dualism = mind/body separation

Thinking substance and extended substance
Body is not who you are as a person

Catholic outlook – without either body or soul, you are not a person

(Aquinas says only separated souls are currently in heaven, and are not persons)

[If reasoning is bad to some Protestants, how can they believe in solo scriptura?]

Soul – exists like a substance after death, but isn’t a substance

We all have a collection of beliefs.
In the bottom, in the foundation, are the beliefs upon which the other beliefs rely and which are self-evident, such as 1+1=2. There are incorrigible beliefs – which other people can’t call into question, such as what’s going on in your head.

Many people believe that to be rational means that you need to have arguments supporting your belief structure

Do I have to prove everything I know?

We have many more beliefs than concrete knowledge.

Start from particular beliefs, don’t start with a method.

Epistemology – the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope (limitations) of knowledge; it asks: What is knowledge? How is knowledge acquired? What do people know? How do we know what we know?

Intuition – what you know without argument; understanding without apparent effort; the act by which the mind perceives the agreement or disagreement of two ideas

Dark night of the soul – contemplation in the presence of God – mystical knowledge of God – intuition through inspiration. 460 – through charity this knowledge is communicated to the intellect – intellect is unable to operate – the darker the night, the closer you are to God. When we get charity, we become like God –> connaturality – to know something by becoming like it.

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