Snippets of Modern Wisdom

SABOU, Sorin. ‘Snippets of Modern Wisdom.’ Jurnal teologic Vol 13, Nr 2 (2014): 5-27.

Abstract: These succinct snippets cover essential themes in the modern philosophy. The method is represented by Descartes, Bacon and to a certain extent Husserl. The existence of God as argued for by Descartes and the question of Being explored by Heidegger. The intention is to sketch them based on readings of primary texts. Even if the texts are short they are rich in content.

Descartes's Method

The overall method of Descartes is a method of doubt. He dismisses knowledge derived from authority, senses, and reason (Watson, 2014). His demonstration is one of clarity and absolute certainty (Skirry). He is determined to bring any belief based on sensation into doubt because they might be a dream; mathematics included, because of the existence of an evil demon with supreme power of cunning about everything.Read more...


Phenomenalism is a philosophical theory of perception and the external world. Propositions about material objects are reducible to propositions about actual and possible sensations, or sense data, or appearances (EB, 2013). There is no distinction between independently existing physical objects and mind-dependent sense-data. To talk about any existing object is to talk about a collection of perceivable features localized in a particular portion of space-time (Stroll, 2013). The material things are permanent possibilities of sensation, of sense-data (BonJour, 2013).Read more...

Descartes - the 'evil demon' hypotheses

The hypothesis of the evil demon is imagined by Descartes. He imagines that there might be an evil deceiver who is constantly putting false ideas in his mind. Whatever he takes to be true is really false. This is so no matter how sure he is of it (Meditations I and II).Read more...

Descartes - proving God's existence

These steps in Descartes’ argument are from the Meditation nr 3. Here they are:
I have an idea of an infinitely perfect substance.
Such an idea must have a cause.
From nothing, nothing comes (Ex nihilo nihil fit).
So the cause of an idea must have at least as much formal reality as there is subjective reality in the idea.
Though I am a substance, I am not infinitely perfect.
So I could not be the cause of this idea.
So there must be a formal reality that is an infinitely perfect substance.
So God exists.