Rene Descartes - Essay Example

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In this essay the basic worldview of the philosopher Rene Descartes (1596 - 1650) will be evaluated from a predominately Jungian Depth Psychological perspective. In the first part (following this introduction) Descartes way of thinking will be discussed and evaluated…
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Rene Descartes
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Download file to see previous pages "I think, hence I am, [this is] so certain and of such evidence that no ground of doubt, however extravagant, could be alleged by the skeptics capable of shaking it, [therefore] I concluded that I might, without scruple, accept it as the first principle of the philosophy of which I was in search."
(Descartes, 1989, p30)
This is fair enough from a depth psychological perspective. Although psychic energy (particularly archetypal energy) is more usually regarded as Jungian Depth Psychology's starting point due to psychic energy being primordial and universal. It is the view of Jungians that it took millenia's of human psychological evolution to produce humans like Descartes who are capable of such great attentitive, focused, reflective thought. Nevertheless, for Descartes, he was primarily focused on this own individual self, and for that reason his starting point is accepted here.
"Thus what I thought I had seen with my eyes, I actually grasped solely with the faculty of judgment, which is in my mind."
(Descartes)
We can be certain of psychic reality. We can be largely certain of much physical reality but what Descartes is saying here, is that outer objects may not be seen as they really are. We have no way of knowing. We cannot get beyond human limitations. Where Jungian Depth Psychology parts from Descartes is in limiting his thinking to one type directed consciousness thinking. But before coming to that we can briefly state what is positive in this Cartesian method. It has already been noted that it took millenia's of evolution to reach the stage where one could reflect, think, be attentive and focused in the way that Descartes was. Because for Descartes, the true way of living was to 'think'. A thinking thing must think in order to be healthy. For...
Rene Descartes was a major philosopher of the seventeenth century, belonging to the school of continental rationalism. Descartes sets out in his Discourse on Method to doubt all that could be doubted, albeit not to end up believing in nothing, but rather so that he would believe in only that which really was true. We can be certain of psychic reality. We can be largely certain of much physical reality but what Descartes is saying here, is that outer objects may not be seen as they really are. We have no way of knowing. We cannot get beyond human limitations. Where Jungian Depth Psychology parts from Descartes is in limiting his thinking to one type… directed consciousness thinking. But before coming to that we can briefly state what is positive in this Cartesian method. It has already been noted that it took millennia's of evolution to reach the stage where one could reflect, think, be attentive and focused in the way that Descartes was. Because for Descartes, the true way of living was to ‘think’. A thinking thing must think in order to be healthy. For Descartes, this thinking must be free from passion and prejudice if it is to be healthy… and if it is to “operate with perfect rational clarity and thereby attain certain knowledge”. Descartes (as good as) perfects ‘directed thinking’ appropriate to his ‘pre-Freud’ and ‘pre Jung’ time and place.
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