Peirce (1958)

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Peirce, Charles Sanders. (1868) Some Consequences of Our Four Incapacities. Journal of Speculative Philosophy 2 (3), 140-157.

Title Some Consequences of Our Four Incapacities
Resource Type journal article
Author(s) Charles Sanders Peirce
Year 1868
Journal Journal of Speculative Philosophy
Volume 2
Number 3
Pages 140-157


Descartes is the father of modern philosophy, and the spirit of Cartesianism that which principally distinguishes it from the scholasticism, which it displaced may be compendiously stated as follows: 1. It teaches that philosophy must begin with universal doubt; whereas scholasticism had never questioned fundamentals. 2. It teaches that the ultimate test of certainty is to be found in the individual consciousness; whereas scholasticism had rest ed on the testimony of sages and of the Catholic Church. 3. The multiform argumentation of the middle ages is replaced by a single thread of inference depending often upon inconspicuous premises. 4. Scholasticism had its mysteries of faith, but undertook to explain all created things. But there are many facts which Cartesianism not only does not explain, but renders absolutely inexplicable, unless to say that 'God makes them so' is to be regarded as an explanation. In some, or all of these respects, most modern philosophers have been, in effect, Cartesians. Now without wishing to return to scholasticism, it seems to me that modern science and modern logic require us to stand upon a very different platform from this.