Cartesianism and Eternal Truths

Richard Kennington.  “Cartesianism and Eternal Truths,” On Modern Origins: Essays in Early Modern Philosophy, ed. P. Kraus and F. Hunt. Lexington Books. 2004.


It has long been recognized that the metaphysics of the Meditations is in strong tension with a rival Cartesian doctrine. This is the doctrine of the divine creation of eternal truths. In the Meditations the intention to establish foundations of the sciences is accomplished by rational proofs of the existence and veracity of God.  The rationalism of this metaphysics is evident especially from Descartes’s appeal to the principle of noncontradiction in Meditations 6: “I have never judged that something could not be made by [God] except on the grounds that there would be a contradiction in my perceiving it distinctly.”

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