svētdiena, 2009. gada 13. septembris

Dekarta ētikas pērles no "Principia philosophiae"

"Principles of Philosophy" Part 1 - "The principles of human knowledge"


1. The seeker after truth must once in his lifetime doubt everything that he can doubt.

We’re bound to have many preconceived opinions that keep us from knowledge of the truth, because in our infancy, before we had the full use of our reason, we made all sorts of judgments about things presented to our senses. The only way to free ourselves from these opinions, it seems, is just once in our lives to take the trouble to doubt everything in which we find even the tiniest suspicion of uncertainty.

6. We have free will, enabling us to avoid error by refusing to assent to anything doubtful.

Still, whoever created us and however powerful and however deceitful he may be, we experience within ourselves a freedom to hold off from believing things that aren’t completely certain and thoroughly examined. So we can guard ourselves against ever going wrong.

34. Making a judgment requires will as well as intellect.

In order to make a judgment we must of course have some perception, so the intellect has to be involved; but the judgment itself—the assent—is an act of the will. Now, a sort of judgment can be made even when there is no complete and exhaustive perception of whatever-it-is, because we can assent to many things that we know only in a very obscure and confused manner.

35. The will has a wider scope than the intellect does, and that’s why error occurs.

The perception of the intellect extends only to the few things that come before it, and they are very few. The will, on the other hand, can be called ‘infinite’ in a certain sense. That is because we realize that we could will anything that anyone could will, even God with his immeasurable will. So we have plenty of scope for willing where we don’t vividly perceive—no wonder we go wrong!

36. Our errors can’t be imputed to God.

It must emphatically not be supposed that God is the author of our errors because he didn’t give us an omniscient intellect. It stands to reason that a created intellect is finite, and that a finite intellect has a limited scope.

37. The highest perfection of man is that he acts freely or voluntarily, and that’s what makes him deserve praise or blame.

It is part of the very nature of the will to have a very broad scope; and it’s a supreme perfection in man that he acts voluntarily, i.e. freely; this makes him in a special way the author of his actions and deserving of praise for what he does. We don’t praise automata for moving in exactly the way they were designed to move, because it’s necessary for them to do that. We do praise the designer for doing a good job, because in building the automata he was acting freely, not out of necessity. By the same principle, when we embrace something true, that’s much more to our credit if we do it voluntarily than it would be if we couldn’t help embracing it.

38. Our falling into error is bad behaviour, not the result of a bad nature. The faults of subordinates can often be attributed to their masters, but not when the master is God.

Our falling into error is a defect in how we act, how we use our freedom; it’s not a defect in our nature. Whether we judge correctly or incorrectly, our nature remains the same. It’s true that God could have given us intellects so sharp that we never believed anything false, but we have no right to demand this of him. When one us men could but doesn’t prevent some evil, we call him a ‘cause’ of the evil; but that way of talking about humans doesn’t carry over to God; we mustn’t regard him as a cause of our errors just because he could have but didn’t bring it about that we never erred. Men were given power over one another to use in discouraging one another from evil; but God’s power over all men is both absolute and totally free. So we should thank him warmly for the goods he has so lavishly bestowed on us, instead of unjustly complaining that he didn’t give us everything that he could have given us.

39. It’s self-evident that there is free will.

There’s freedom in our will, and we often have the power to give or withhold our assent at will—that’s so obvious that it must be regarded as one of the first and most common notions that are innate in us. It showed up in sections 5–6 where, trying to doubt everything, we went so far as to entertain the thought of a supremely powerful creator who was trying to deceive us in every possible way. Even in the context of that supposition, we sensed within ourselves a freedom strong enough to enable us to abstain from believing anything that wasn’t quite certain or fully examined. And what we saw to be beyond doubt even then is as self-evident and as transparently clear as anything can be.


Un vēl. Lasot 1.nodaļas noslēgumā uzskaitīties cilvēka kļūdu cēloņus, radās jautājums - ko gan par šiem punktiem teiktu Freids? Vai tas nav kaut kas līdzīgs tam, ko praktizē psihoanalītķi? Vai šādu jautājumu iztirzāšana XX un XXI gs. no filosofu rokām nav nonākusi psihologu rokās?

71. The prejudices of childhood are the chief causes of error.

72. The second cause of error is that we can’t forget our prejudices.

73. The third cause of error: we find it exhausting to think about things that aren’t present to our senses; so our judgments about them are usually based not on present thinking but on preconceived opinions.

74. The fourth cause of error is that we attach our concepts to words that don’t precisely correspond to real things.

Īsāk sakot:
  • būt muļķim ir sliktas audzināšanas pazīme;
  • ticēt muļķībām var tikai slikti audzināts un nebrīvs (cilvēks, kas neapjauš savu brīvību) cilvēks, proti, vergs (vergs kā simbols);
  • brīvā griba ir vienīgais mūsu rīks, kas ļauj pārvarēt muļķību;
  • griba ved prātu pie patiesības;
  • mums ir tiesības ierobežot otru, ja viņš grasās veikt ko ļaunu;
  • rīkoties brīvi ir cilvēka "augstākā pilotāža".

Teksts ņemts no: http://www.earlymoderntexts.com/pdf/descprin.pdf

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