Talk:Meditations on First Philosophy

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Invalid Argument[edit]

In the section on the first meditation, the article contains an argument

  1. If I am dreaming/deceived, then my beliefs are not true.
  2. I don't know whether I am dreaming/deceived.
  3. Therefore, I don't know whether my beliefs are true.

Which is invalid (compare with the following situation in which I see John eat some nuts, and go into an allergic reaction:

  1. If John is in anaphylaxic shock, he has eaten some nuts (this is true)
  2. I don't know whether John is in anaphylaxic shock (This is true: I don't even know what that means)
  3. Therefore, I don't know whether John ate any nuts (false - I saw him eat them)

) I'm pretty sure Descartes didn't make this argument.--NoizHed 12:21, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

1. If John is in shock he has eaten nuts
2. I cant tell if John is in shock
3. Therefore I don't know if he has eaten nuts
This type of argument seems logical. All Descartes is saying is that, for the individual, dreaming and non-dreaming are indistinguishable while they are occurring but he later goes on to say that this doesn't matter - you can describe the content of experience in the same way whether it is a dream or not. Cogito ergo sum, not "I am awake therefore I am". Geometer 11:02, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

---a note--- : Please remember that the Discussion section is for discussion on the Wikipedia page, NOT what the article is that Wikipedia has made a page for. Your objections to Descartes have been voiced many times and, while appreciated, do not belong in this section. Kenji000 (talk) 13:45, 14 April 2008 (UTC)


I'm a bit confused. This article says in one spot that Meditations on First Philosophy was written after Discourse on Method. In another spot, it seems to apply that "Cogito Ergo Sum" was written as a response to criticism on Meditations. Specifically, the article states: "In one of Descartes' replies to objections to the book, he summed this up in the now-famous phrase, I think, therefore I am..."

Every other article regarding Descartes says that Cogito was first written in Discourse (Four years before Meditations!!)? - Patrick95350 04:47, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

I think therefore I am was written in Discourse....

Not in the book[edit]

I changed the quote containing the (approximation of) the cogito to reflect what is actually said in the version of the Meditiations that is linked to at the bottom of the page (Meditation 2, paragraph 3). Baffledexpert 16:47, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

Hey, I'm just trying to help, but don't actually have a wikipedia account and have no idea what way to approach this. On this original article on the meditations on the first philosophy by Descartes, in the section for Meditation II, there is an error. There is a quote listed as from the second meditation, the quote reading along the lines of... "I am a thing that thinks, that is to say, a thing that doubts.... etc." This is listed as being from Descartes second of the six meditations, when actually, it is from the first paragraph of the third meditation. Correct me if wrong, but if I am indeed righto, then please fix this article! (talk) 00:25, 2 March 2010 (UTC)Zacarino

Content Expansion[edit]

I've begun a major content expansion here. I plan on continuing with Meditations 3-6 later. uriah923(talk) 03:16, 5 December 2005 (UTC) The summaries of the Meditations are finished. I may add a section to discuss the alleged accomplishments of the work and some issues, but I wonder if those should be saved for the article on Descartes. Thoughts? uriah923(talk) 06:42, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Objections & replies[edit]

It would be great to expand this wikientry to include the a summary of the Objections & Replies. We could start with a summary of the Seven philosophers who submitted their objections...

I second that wholeheartedly. If it has not yet been added once I have given them deeper study, I'll do what I can.Kai 03:52, 1 February 2007 (UTC) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Kai Miller (talkcontribs) 03:52, 1 February 2007 (UTC).
This just in: I'm an idiot. It was already there. Tee-hee?Kai 03:59, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

There are still none of Descartes' replies, though. Surely that makes the whole thing a bit one-sided. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:34, 26 November 2007 (UTC)


I've just read the article, and think there is a certain judgmental undertone to it. It feels like some author voices a rather disparaging opinion on the quality of Descartes' thinking and conclusion, for example the sentence "Along the way, he 'stumbles' upon another claimed logical proof of God's existence." and similar examples.

Any other opinions on that? If you agree with me, it might be a good idea to add a NPOV flag to the article. --TheOtherStephan 15:11, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

I think "stumbles" accurately represents the way he describes the process in the book. uriah923(talk) 19:36, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree - his purpose isn't to lay out an established argument, but to discover (both himself and the reader) the truth. "Stumble" would be the appropriate word to go along with both his writing style and his description of the discovery process. --Tim4christ17 06:10, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
'Stumbles' is not NPOV, but 'claimed logical' is. A better sentence would be "Along the way, he 'stumbles' upon another proof of God's existence."

I think, therefore I am[edit]

I changed, "I think, therefore I exist," to "I think, therefore I am." First, you can either go with the French to Latin to English translation of: "I am thinking, therefore I exist," or, more properly, the French to English translation of: "I think, therefore I am." The previous one was a mix of the two. Unsuspected 09:58, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Amazing article[edit]

Probably the best I've read on the Wikipedia. I'd submit it as a Featured Article candidate, but am afraid it'd be destroyed in the process. --Tim4christ17 06:14, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Not actual translations[edit]

This page entitled "meditations of First Pholosophy" is really a discussion of Descartes works. While we normally expect that an encyclopedia really is just a discussion or treatise on a subject, there is already a wikipedia section with the actual direct translations for many of Descartes works.

Now, in many ways, I believe this page is better, if at least more helpful, than the actual english translation (John Veitch Translation of 1901). Therefore, I would never suggest that this article be proposed for deletion, however, I would want any wikipedia readers who come upon this page to understand that the contents of this page are the post-modern analyses of Descartes work and not actual translations.

So, I'm proposing to the author that he edit the page only to add a short contextual disclaimer informing the reader that this page is a modern interpretaion of Descartes meditations. Then a link should be added to the actual John Veitch Translation of 1901, also found on wikipedia.


I suspect the author of the above was referring to the text linked from Wikisources. I found much of this article to be a fairly straightforward summary; I suppose, however, that perhaps mention somewhere that this is the common modern interpretation (as opposed to elimination of any analysis at all) would not be out of line. Comments, convention experts?Kai 03:57, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

But again this is risky. The question is which one should we have a fully translation. Meditation was written twice by Descartes; the first to "the Dean and Doctors of the Sacred Faculty of Theology of Paris" or the second when he added more words after letters were sent to him about his theory? Also the first book was published without him physically being there but the second had his supervision. So which one shall we choose to have the full text? It's hard because the first could have been alter while the second was slightly changed to help the reader. Also remember that old words in Latin does not fully mean the same or translate the same as today. Therefore we can question the old text as well as the new text. But all in all I think that we shouldn't discourage people who are looking for a quick summary of the book with modern analysis.


The subtitle listed in the first sentence is not a translation of the "original Latin" subtitle. Did the subtitle change at some point, and if so, shouldn't it be mentioned how and why? Otherwise, it looks like a gratuitous change was made in translation, and if that were the case, I would expect Wikipedia to keep with the original consistently. 02:21, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Reference. Objections...[edit]

" response to Hobbes, “I cannot possibly satisfy those who prefer to attribute a different sense to my words than the one I intended”..." Por favor amplíen la información en la sección Objections and Replies, me parece que necesita muchas referencias. Gracias

Entry for the Third Meditation: Long and Questionable[edit]

Most of this article seems acceptable. However I am very worried about the entry for the third meditation. First, the entry is simply much too long. The third meditation itself is only 39 paragraphs. This entry is nearly as long.

Second, the author of this entry seems to place emphasis on arguments that, in the original text, are quiet insubstantial and unimportant. For instance, why is so much attention paid to the explanation of counting? This is not an example that Descartes uses; the use of this example does not make Descartes' meaning any more clear; the example in this entry is much too long; and it is uncertain to me that the point of the example was a major concern for Descartes.

Finally, and most worryingly, the entry for the third meditation contains no criticism of Descartes' arguments. The proofs for God's existence and Descartes use of the notion of "clear and distinct ideas" in the third meditation are hotly contested and have been highly criticized. Why is this not mentioned? What's more, there is no mention of the Cartesian Circle in relation to the third meditation. (In fact, the circularity of Descartes' arguments are only briefly mentioned in the "Objections" section at the end of the entry.) I would think that the circularity should be emphasized, and a link added to the entry on the Cartesian Circle.

This entry should be flagged.

On the Third Meditation[edit]

There are serious flaws in both arguments. In the first, the "thing" that is infinitely perfect does not have to exist. The "God" that Descartes had in mind was the God in his perception, which does not qualify for existence. As an example, one part of the God is this argument that God exists, which Descartes believe to be true and thus part of a perfect image of God. In the second, Descartes failed to understand the time as a fourth dimension - that the "God" of his image is all the things in his perception, plus infinity. However, without the fourth dimension of "time", he would be indeed created by himself - His argument that he did not create himself was that he would have made himself perfect, which is not true, as the will to make himself perfect is actually "imperfect" - in other words, the imperfect always seek to be perfect, but we do not know that for the perfect. We can use this argument in the opposite way and conclude that we did create ourselves. Aran|heru|nar 13:43, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Referring to point d (The idea of perfection that exists in me cannot have originated from a non-perfect being.) to have created himself he must be perfect in order that he might possess the idea of a perfect God. Furthermore the idea that only what is imperfect seeks to become perfect works the same way as that a boxer doesn't seek to become heavyweight champion while he is already in possession of the title.

The argument is pretty shaky and flawed for a variety of reasons, this just happens not to be one of them.

~El Marko~

Ok. I think I may have been way to harsh, and misunderstood the ordering. Nevertheless, I think it would be betteer to rebuild that section up than try to trim the preveous wadge. Larklight (talk) 19:07, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
  I think what Descartes wrote should remain as it is not the purpose of the article to just critique the work,but to provide information on it. But I would like to see a reference included if the statements of Descartes are false and a good amount of evidence is present that shows he was in fact wrong. 

my understanding of what is an error in Descartes's argument is when he claims that only a perfect being could come have the idea of a perfect idea, but he has no evidence that shows that it is necessary to be perfect to imagine perfection. And to propose a challenge to the claim that an idea can only be had if that idea originated from what that idea is about(E.g an idea of a perfect being requires a perfect being, what about the idea of an idea that can never come from what the idea is about. Wouldn't the fact that I have thought that idea, by Descartes's own logic, make my idea exist? I may have made an error in logic though, and would apreshiate some responses. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Thepsychonaut (talkcontribs) 21:09, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Not very Encyclopedic[edit]

Isn't the purpose of an Encyclopedia to give background information about something? Where's the introduction to this article? "Meditations blah blah was written by Rene Descartes in 16xx and was published blah blah while he was working on blah blah blah. The document may be seen as a response to blah blah blah and is symptomatic of the contemporary blah blah blah" - I mean, obviously, I could write all this, except that I came to this article to learn all this... seriously you guys I'm just writing to enquire as to whether I've read this whole thing wrong or if it's true that, in fact, this is not a good article according to the doctrine of Wikipedia etc. blah blah blah blah blah blah blah pardon my frustration and do please validate me if you think I'm not entirely insane. Thanks dudes. Urmarkt (talk) 06:37, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

I reverted a major deletion by someone at The article now has an introduction. Minding (talk) 16:50, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

From the section "Meditation III: Concerning God, That He Exists": "three types of ideas: ...Fictitious, and Adventitious... factitious or invented ideas" Which is it? Fictitious or Factitious? Or more briefly, Fict or Fact? They are not synonymous. Did someone subtly vandalize or accidentally modify the paragraph? I'd fix it myself but don't have the expertise. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Larrykoen (talkcontribs) 13:15, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Meditation I and SparkNotes[edit]

Either the SparkNotes website is copying verbatim Wikipedia, or Wikipedia is copying SparkNotes. Due to the lack of formatting for both the "summary" and "analysis" subsections on the Wiki page, and the section's incongruency with the summaries of other meditations, I think it's the latter. The text can be found here. If this is not useful, or mistaken, please accept my apology.

Bragglemuffin (talk) 18:56, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

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