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HomePhilosophyBernard Williams on Descartes’s audacious endeavour to prove knowledge is possible

Bernard Williams on Descartes’s audacious endeavour to prove knowledge is possible


In his landmark works Discourse on the Method (1637) and Meditations on First Philosophy (1641), René Descartes tackled a easy but imposing query: how can one know something for sure? Laid out in methodical element, his solutions would supply the inspiration for contemporary philosophy and science. In this video from 1987, the celebrated UK broadcaster and philosophy populariser Bryan Magee (1930-2019) dissects Descartes’s world-changing writings alongside the UK thinker and Descartes scholar Bernard Williams (1929-2003). In doing so, the pair touches on how the existence of God was elementary to Descartes’s development of the Universe, what exactly he meant in proclaiming ‘I think, therefore I am’, and which of his concepts have fallen out of vogue in up to date philosophy.

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