2 Answers

  1. Descartes ' philosophy grew out of the philosophy of Parmenides. The very expression “Cogito, ergo sum – -” I think, so I exist ” goes back to the ideas of the ancient Greek thinker that being can only be thought, it is immovable. Thought and thinking are being itself, because you can't think about anything. For Parmenides, there was only mental knowledge; he denied the sensuous. Hence the basic idea, the foundation of the Western rational philosophy of Modern times.

  2. Let's start, in order, with Parmenides.

    Parmenides of Elea (approximate years of life 540-470 BC)

    His main work is called “A Poem about Nature” and has come down to us only in fragments. Parmenides identified 2 possible ways of knowing: the way of truth and the way of opinion.

    The path of truth opens to the thinker:

    1) being is, but non-being is not

    2) there is nothing but being

    3) thinking is being (for nothing can be thought)

    4) being is not generated (after all, then it would be necessary to recognize that it came from non-being, and there is no non-being)

    5) being has no past and no future, it is immobile and perfect

    The path of truth opens only to reason.

    Opinion Path:

    This path is very familiar to us. Every day, we take for granted a lot of random things, our emotional experiences, desires… The way of opinion is characterized by the belief that everything is random and multiplicative.
    The path of opinion is the path of non-existence (the result of our delusions).

    Therefore, the [empty] name will be everything that mortals have established [in the language], convinced of the truth of this: To be born and to perish, to be and not to be, To change place and change its bright color.

    The path of opinion opens through feelings. It is through our senses that we learn about many things around us, that they are born and die.

    Feelings can't be trusted, they lead away from the truth. For in truth, being is one, homogeneous, eternal, and immobile.

    Rene Descartes
    Now about Descartes. lived in France in the 17th century. His philosophical teaching will be much more difficult to put in a nutshell, because it has come down to our times in a much more complete form. We also have at our disposal the philosopher's letters and his works on physics, mathematics and physiology.

    On the similarities of Cartesian teaching with the concept of Parmenides:

    1) Descartes postulates the falsity of feelings and the content of our sensations

    Realizing the inconsistency of the position of modern sciences, Cartesius (Latin version of the surname Descartes) comes to understand the need to start building the building of science from the very beginning. To clear the ground for a solid foundation, the philosopher chooses the procedure of radical doubt.

    he begins to doubt everything that seems certain to any average European of his time:

    • in the existence of the world and things around me
    • in the existence of people and of oneself (Descartes)
    • in mathematical truths
    • in the existence of God
      As is well known, in doubt he discovers the certainty of this doubt itself, and through the certainty of doubt he comes to the certainty of thinking in general.�

    However, if thinking has managed to regain the status of reliable, then things and a person's own body (which means that all his feelings and experiences remain in the status of unreliable).

    2) concludes,that the essence of man is thinking (thinking detached from the senses, free from the body and the laws by which it functions. The famous Cartesian “cogito, ergo sum “(I think, therefore I exist)).

    When Descartes calls himself a “thinking thing,” he divides himself into two parts. On thinking (the evidence of one's own doubts and thinking) and corporeality (to corporeality he refers all the contents of human feelings: touch, sight, smell, tactile sensations, the sensation of tastes; physiological needs of a person: hunger, thirst, the desire to sleep, and so on)�

    Of the two parts indicated above, only one is the true essence of man – thinking, freed from sensuous content. And this part, according to Descartes, is given to him with the greatest evidence.

    3) even after restoring confidence in the existence of the material world (after the procedure of doubt), Descartes is convinced that the true essence of the extended (material) world can be understood not by the senses, but only by the mind. To do this, it is necessary to overcome the habit of considering feelings as reliable witnesses of the objective world.�

    As long as we judge things based on our own feelings, desires, and sensations, we have before us not the thing, but only the reaction of our body to this thing (that which characterizes our body, but not the thing). If we take away from a thing its properties given to us in the representation, then the true essence of any thing remains-extension (the space that this thing occupies).

    4) returning to how Descartes restored the validity of the external thinking of the world, it is appropriate to recall the idea of god in Descartes ' philosophy.

    Cartesian God (truth): one, all-good, was not and will not be, but always is, unchangeable, indivisible (coincidence? I don't think so!).�

    In Descartes ' philosophy, God is the guarantor of the unity of the world (God is the substance that unites thought and extension).

    Descartes ' God embodies:

    • the truth of the world
    • unity of thought (soul)
    • integrity of the world
    • unity of time
      �In addition, only the discovery of one's own thinking (free from corporeality, from feelings), according to Descartes, makes a person exist and able to know the truth.�

    This existence, which is identical with thinking, is also discussed in the famous Cartesian cogito, ergo sum

    Let's summarize our comparison of concepts:
    1) Descartes and Parmenides are similar in their attitude to sensory experience

    2) Descartes and Parmenides agree in their understanding of truth and that it is attainable only by thinking free of material things.

    3) Parmenides identifies being and thinking directly, Descartes also makes this identification, but in a slightly different way.�

    Cartesius sees the necessity of opposing thought to extension as negating one another, so he combines them externally (by introducing into philosophy a single, eternal substance that embraces both thought and extension, the figure of God).

    Of course, it is very difficult to talk about an unquestionable connection between these two thinkers, about continuity. Parmenides lived too long ago to be 100% sure that we correctly understand and interpret his teachings, and Descartes claimed at every opportunity that he begins to build his philosophy from the very beginning and does not rely on his predecessors in this project.

    However, we can safely say that the similarity of philosophical concepts indicates the internal development of philosophy itself, which returned to its own provisions, developed already in antiquity, but did so in accordance with a new era, new conditions.

    A scientist, a philosopher of Modern times, such as Descartes, would no longer be able to stop at the simple unity of being and thinking; It was important for Descartes to understand how, based on the knowledge of truth, you can also know the world around you.�

    Parmenides is at the origin of the discovery of a new sphere of thought for humanity (free from experience).

    Descartes, in the same way, discovers science (experimental knowledge)for man which can only develop and be truly meaningful when it is based on thinking (free from experience).

    You can learn more about philosophy in the corresponding section of our app: https://go.onelink.me/aWYy/thequestion

Leave a Reply