By Robert Mayhew
Leonard Peikoff once wrote that "To reclaim the self-confidence of man's mind, the first modern to refute is Immanuel Kant … ; the second is Descartes." In this course, Dr. Mayhew conducts a close, critical analysis of Descartes' most important work: Meditations on First Philosophy (1641). Not only does this course acquaint the student with a major, influential work from early modern philosophy, it also provides him with an excellent opportunity to practice philosophical detection. Topics (i.e., errors) to be covered include: skepticism about the senses and reason; the cogito; the primacy of consciousness; Cartesian dualism; the ontological argument for the existence of God. Throughout, Descartes' reliance on what Ayn Rand called "stolen concepts" is highlighted.
This course was recorded at the 2006 Objectivist Summer Conference in Boston, MA.
(MP3 download; 5 hrs., 14 min., with Q & A, 216 MB)