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  #1  
Old Nov 6, '06, 7:03 pm
gunnerz gunnerz is offline
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Default Descartes

Has anybody heard anything about a possible canonization of Rene Descartes? I heard someone mention the other day that many have been pushing for this for a long time. Anybody know much about it?
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  #2  
Old Nov 6, '06, 7:39 pm
Zahmir Zahmir is offline
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Default Re: Descartes

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Originally Posted by gunnerz View Post
Has anybody heard anything about a possible canonization of Rene Descartes? I heard someone mention the other day that many have been pushing for this for a long time. Anybody know much about it?
rene descartes was the anti-christ. I'm surprised anyone would ever suggest that he would ever become a saint.
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  #3  
Old Nov 6, '06, 8:00 pm
rlg94086 rlg94086 is offline
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Default Re: Descartes

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Originally Posted by Zahmir View Post
rene descartes was the anti-christ. I'm surprised anyone would ever suggest that he would ever become a saint.
Why the anti-Christ? I did a quick google and found...

Quote:
February 1, 1650: French philosopher Rene Descartes dies. Though more famous for his saying, "Cogito ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am), he followed that statement with a logical argument for the existence of God. In essence, he argued that the idea of God, a perfect being, could only be caused by that perfect God. Though fellow philosopher-mathematician-scientist Blaise Pascal (an avid Christian) considered Descartes a mere Deist, "letting [God] give a tap to set the world in motion," Descartes repeatedly wrote about his devotion to Roman Catholicism.
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  #4  
Old Nov 6, '06, 8:40 pm
Zahmir Zahmir is offline
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Default Re: Descartes

Anyone who bases their being on themselves is wholly not worthy of canonization. I am not "me" because I think. I am me because God created me and because he sustains me in everything.

Descartes' proof then for the for existence of God is self-defeating, for what good is proving that God exists if you aren't willing to submit yourself to Him.

Other than that, he was just all around a man who preached "mastery" over things, including one's one body. As in, the body is only a tool and not really us... blah blah blah blah blah.

Basically, Descartes is evil and his proof of God is reeking of prideful thoughts.
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  #5  
Old Nov 6, '06, 8:56 pm
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Adonis33 Adonis33 is offline
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Default Re: Descartes

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Originally Posted by Zahmir View Post
Anyone who bases their being on themselves is wholly not worthy of canonization. I am not "me" because I think. I am me because God created me and because he sustains me in everything.

Descartes' proof then for the for existence of God is self-defeating, for what good is proving that God exists if you aren't willing to submit yourself to Him.

Other than that, he was just all around a man who preached "mastery" over things, including one's one body. As in, the body is only a tool and not really us... blah blah blah blah blah.

Basically, Descartes is evil and his proof of God is reeking of prideful thoughts.
I think you failed to understand his "I think, therefore I am" quote.

You called him an anti-christ???
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  #6  
Old Nov 6, '06, 9:29 pm
rlg94086 rlg94086 is offline
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Default Re: Descartes

Zahmir,

Please read through this entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia. I know it's not definitive, but I'm pretty sure the Catholic Church would have excommunicated him if he was the antichrist.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04744b.htm

Quote:
Perhaps on the whole St. Thomas and Bossuet will be found to have surpassed Descartes, by reducing all the passions to love. In the Cartesian teaching the passions are good in themselves, but they must be kept in subjection to the law of moral order. What this law is he does not clearly indicate; he gives only some scattered precepts in which one may discern a noble effort to build up a Stoico-Christian system of ethics.

The foregoing account may perhaps give the impression that Descartes was a great savant rather than a great philosopher; but the significance of his scientific work should be properly understood. What remains of value is not so much his theories, but the impetus given by his genius, his method, his discoveries. His quantitative conception of the world is being gradually abandoned, and today men's minds are turning to a philosophy of nature wherein quality plays a controlling part.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zahmir View Post
Anyone who bases their being on themselves is wholly not worthy of canonization. I am not "me" because I think. I am me because God created me and because he sustains me in everything.

Descartes' proof then for the for existence of God is self-defeating, for what good is proving that God exists if you aren't willing to submit yourself to Him.

Other than that, he was just all around a man who preached "mastery" over things, including one's one body. As in, the body is only a tool and not really us... blah blah blah blah blah.

Basically, Descartes is evil and his proof of God is reeking of prideful thoughts.
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  #7  
Old Nov 7, '06, 5:49 am
Zahmir Zahmir is offline
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Default Re: Descartes

Ahh.... I was just exaggerating to get attention. Descartes was a philosopher but a perfect example of the whole "my mind is the greatest part of me."

He was a genius when it came to math.

But it would seem still unfounded to even think about canonization.

Quote:
Thought then is the essential attribute of the soul. The soul is "a thing that thinks" (2e Méd., Princ., 1re partie) and it is nothing else. There is no substratum underlying and supporting its various states; its whole being issues in each of its activities; thought and soul are equivalent (12e Règle).
Here's a good example.
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  #8  
Old Nov 7, '06, 8:02 am
rlg94086 rlg94086 is offline
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Default Re: Descartes

Well, on this we can agree...I've only seen the OP's question though, nothing actually showing the Church considering it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zahmir View Post
Ahh.... I was just exaggerating to get attention. Descartes was a philosopher but a perfect example of the whole "my mind is the greatest part of me."

He was a genius when it came to math.

But it would seem still unfounded to even think about canonization.



Here's a good example.
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  #9  
Old Nov 7, '06, 4:30 pm
a priori a priori is offline
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Default Re: Descartes

Descartes is being misrepresented here.

He was merely addressing the assertion that nothing is knowable. His point was that some things are knowable. The proposition that "man is a thinking being" is knowable. If one thing is knowable then other things are as well.

Man is a thinking being. This is the only proposition that, in the process of refuting, affirms itself. You have to think in order to refute the proposition, thereby affirming it. This is what he meant by Cogito Ergo Sum. He wasn't questioning his own existence.

He argued against the old statement that "nothing is in the mind that wasn't first in the senses". He suggested that man possesses certain "a priori" (ahem) knowledge as a function of being human. A very Christian concept.
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  #10  
Old Nov 7, '06, 4:31 pm
havemercy havemercy is offline
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Default Re: Descartes

Descartes has caused the world much grief. Doubt it.
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  #11  
Old Nov 8, '06, 8:59 am
Zahmir Zahmir is offline
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Default Re: Descartes

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Originally Posted by a priori View Post
Descartes is being misrepresented here.

He was merely addressing the assertion that nothing is knowable. His point was that some things are knowable. The proposition that "man is a thinking being" is knowable. If one thing is knowable then other things are as well.

Man is a thinking being. This is the only proposition that, in the process of refuting, affirms itself. You have to think in order to refute the proposition, thereby affirming it. This is what he meant by Cogito Ergo Sum. He wasn't questioning his own existence.

He argued against the old statement that "nothing is in the mind that wasn't first in the senses". He suggested that man possesses certain "a priori" (ahem) knowledge as a function of being human. A very Christian concept.
If he had Christian ideas, it was by accident.

What would Descartes think of a woman in a permanently vegetative state with little to no brain function? Does that person truly "exist"?

Descartes makes it seem so easy, but again, seems to lack dependence on Christ or anything of the sort. It seems to me that he wants to make himself independent of God and somewhat "equal" to God.

In general, I AM not because I think. Babies who are born without higher brain functions but who still are living are truly alive and have souls. If you would like to refute this, you, indeed, have been influenced by the evil of Descartes.
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  #12  
Old Nov 8, '06, 10:04 am
a priori a priori is offline
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Default Re: Descartes

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Originally Posted by Zahmir View Post
If he had Christian ideas, it was by accident.

What would Descartes think of a woman in a permanently vegetative state with little to no brain function? Does that person truly "exist"?

Descartes makes it seem so easy, but again, seems to lack dependence on Christ or anything of the sort. It seems to me that he wants to make himself independent of God and somewhat "equal" to God.

In general, I AM not because I think. Babies who are born without higher brain functions but who still are living are truly alive and have souls. If you would like to refute this, you, indeed, have been influenced by the evil of Descartes.
Please reread my post. His point was epistemological not ontological.
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  #13  
Old Nov 8, '06, 12:30 pm
Zahmir Zahmir is offline
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Default Re: Descartes

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Originally Posted by a priori View Post
Please reread my post. His point was epistemological not ontological.
I did read your post, but read the quote I got from the same site that someone else suggested.

This view, "I think therefore I am," has broader implications that just a cool understanding of how things work.

And, about questioning his existence... I'm pretty sure that in the context that that phrase was said... he actually was questioning his existence. For he was meditating on the fact that he might just be the fancy of some evil devil. Am I wrong?

then, when he says, "I think therefore I am" he really was saying, okay... "I truly exist because I think."

Granted, it was all just some meditation, just some conjecture. But whatever you take from Descartes for Christian purposes was not by his design. He wasn't thinking about how great of Christians people can become if they read his meditations.
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  #14  
Old Nov 8, '06, 12:53 pm
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Rach620 Rach620 is offline
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Default Re: Descartes

While it might be a little extreme to refer to Descartes as the anti-christ, I think we'd all agree that it's safe to say that he doesn't deserve to even come close to sainthood.

Especially in the instance of Descartes, it is important to remember that ideas have consequences.

"Cogito ergo sum," is such an example. Whether he was speaking of epistemology or ontology is almost not the point.

Descartes, as a rationalist, laid a pretty strong foundation for many, many philosophical errors which were to come (think Rousseau... Nietzsche. Jacques Maritain, a 20th-century Thomistic philosopher, wrote a book on this idea, called "The Three Reformers," basically the three men who laid the foundation for modern thought which rejects faith and reason & Christian ideals. (The 3 were Luther, Descartes, and Rousseau))

Faith is dismissed as irrational in Enlightenment philosophy, quite different from the Catholic tradition of faith and reason. And besides, focusing on the passions as good in themselves, as Descartes does, is, at the very least, a distraction from the Christian life.

Also, I don't understand anywhere how Descartes dualist philosophy--the separation of body from soul--could ever possibly fit with any Catholic concept of the person. The human person is a unified one, who exists not because he thinks but because he is created by God.

I am by no means an expert philosopher... just felt the need to respond to the absurd idea of St. Rene!
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  #15  
Old Nov 8, '06, 5:13 pm
rpp rpp is offline
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Default Re: Descartes

St. Therese of Lisiuex was named first a Saint then a Doctor of the church not because of her extensive writings (she only wrote one book and a few assorted prayers) but because she showed people the way to holiness through Christ by way of example.

St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Therese of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Alfonsus Ligouri, and on and on were all intellectual giants. But they were also people whose lives demonstrated holiness and they were examples of what we can or must do to serve God.

That they made significant contributions to theology was the reason for naming them Doctors of the Church, not candidates for cannonization.

I think Descartes philosophy has used by many as a basis to deny faith in God. Some have also misused St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine writings against the Church as well. The difference is that you do not need to misuse or remove context from Descartes to do harm to the faith.

Frankly, I do not know much about the man himself. That is, of course, a critical component to sainthood. But his contributions, which seem to have done more harm than good to the Faith would probably exclude his cause for cannonization by all except fringe groups. (I was very tempted to make a cheap shot at a certain famous and storied religious order, but I changed my mind.)
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