Descartes: Truth and Self-deception

  • Shai Frogel
  • Philosophy, July 2015, Cambridge University Press
  • DOI: 10.1017/s0031819115000443

Descartes: Truth and Self-deception

What is it about?

The paper examines the role of self-deception in Descartes' Meditations. It claims that although Descartes sees self-deception as the origin of our false judgments, he consciously uses it for his searching for truth. Descartes finds that self-deception is a very productive tool in our searching for truth, since it expands our ability to free ourselves from our old certainties; logical thinking enables us to doubt our certainties but only self-deception enables us to really suspend them. Descartes, then, proposes a logical-psychological method in first person for philosophical investigation, in which self-deception plays a crucial role. The Cogito should be understood accordingly as a first psychological truth rather than a first philosophical truth. Nevertheless, it is a crucial step in Descartes' philosophical investigation and exposes the relations between the logical aspect and the psychological aspect of philosophical thinking.

Why is it important?

The work explores the psychological aspect of Descartes' philosophical method in the "Meditations", and espeically his use of self-deception.


Professor shaif Frogel
Kibbutzim College of Education

It is the first paper in a project of self-deception in philosophy.

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The following have contributed to this page: Professor shaif Frogel