Ideas from 'Principles of Philosophy' by René Descartes [1646], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Philosophical Essays and Correspondence' by Descartes,René (ed/tr Ariew,Roger) [Hackett 2000,0-87220-502-9]].

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1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 2. Invocation to Philosophy
The greatest good for a state is true philosophers
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 3. Powers as Derived
All powers can be explained by obvious features like size, shape and motion of matter
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 1. Universals
Five universals: genus, species, difference, property, accident
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 2. Resemblance Nominalism
A universal is a single idea applied to individual things that are similar to one another
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / a. Substance
If we perceive an attribute, we infer the existence of some substance
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / d. Substance defined
A substance needs nothing else in order to exist
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 9. Essence and Properties
A substance has one principal property which is its nature and essence
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 3. Error
Most errors of judgement result from an inaccurate perception of the facts
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 5. The Cogito
I think, therefore I am, because for a thinking thing to not exist is a contradiction
'Thought' is all our conscious awareness, including feeling as well as understanding
Total doubt can't include your existence while doubting
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 4. A Priori as Necessities
'Nothing comes from nothing' is an eternal truth found within the mind
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 4. Foundationalism / b. Basic beliefs
We can know basic Principles without further knowledge, but not the other way round
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / b. Essence of consciousness
We can understand thinking occuring without imagination or sensation
16. Persons / D. Self and Body / 3. Cartesian Ego
In thinking we shut ourselves off from other substances, showing our identity and separateness
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 1. Free Will / a. Nature of free will
Our free will is so self-evident to us that it must be a basic innate idea
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 1. Dualism
There are two ultimate classes of existence: thinking substance and extended substance
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 5. Supervenience of mind
Even if tightly united, mind and body are different, as God could separate them
20. Action / D. Explaining an Action / 5. Responsibility for Actions
The greatest perfection of man is to act by free will, and thus merit praise or blame
We do not praise the acts of an efficient automaton, as their acts are necessary
26. Natural Theory / A. Heart of Nature / 1. Nature
Physics only needs geometry or abstract mathematics, which can explain and demonstrate everything
26. Natural Theory / A. Heart of Nature / 2. Natural Purpose
We will not try to understand natural or divine ends, or final causes
Our philosophy has no interest in final causes
27. Natural Reality / A. Physics / 1. Matter / g. Matter as extension
Matter is not hard, heavy or coloured, but merely extended in space