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Philosophy/Philosophy (Rene Descartes)

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Question
Why did Descartes prefer "self-observation" or "learning by himself" to studying/travelling?

Answer
Descartes was looking for truths that could not logically be false in order to build a completely rational philosophy. At least some of such truths had to be what was later called "a priori" -- true regardless of experience. Knowing that he needed truths of this sort, he recognized that he had to gain them through reason alone -- experience would not do it.

That said, Descartes did, in fact, study and travel a great deal.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

Charlie

Philosophy

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Charles K. MacKay

Expertise

I can answer a number of questions in philosophy; my academic concentrations (graduate school at Cornell) are ethics, political philosophy, and 19th-century German philosophy (Marx, Hegel, and hangers-on.)

Experience

EDUCATION:

BA, New College, 1971, Philosophy and Religion
Awarded four graduate fellowships upon graduation

MA, Cornell University, 1974
Social and Political Philosophy, Danforth Fellowship

All course work and dissertation drafts completed for Ph.D. Cornell University, 1971-1975, Social and Political Philosophy, Danforth Fellowship

Courses in statistics and microeconomics, George Washington University and The American University, 1976-1978

EXPERIENCE: Health Insurance Specialist 2005 - Present
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service
US Department of Health and Human Services

Allentown Business School Instructor (Computer Science) 2003 - 2005

Northampton Community College
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy 2003 -2005

Lehigh County Community College
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Computer Science


PUBLICATIONS:

Medicare Made Easy (with Charles B. Inlander) Addison-Wesley, 1989

Good Operations, Bad Operations (with Charles B. Inlander) Viking Press, 1993

Health Rebooted: Information Changes Everything (in press), 2008


Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Arts, Philosphy and Religion, New College, 1971 Master of Arts, Social and Political Philosophy, Cornell University, 1975

Awards and Honors
Danforth Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson Fellowship

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