Clarity and Clarity as a Criterion of AccuracyJune 27, 2021
According to Descartes, just the fact that a proposition is clear to the mind is not sufficient for its truth; It also needs to be selective.
So what does it mean for a concept or idea to be open? The fact that this idea is given directly to our mind, in other words, that we are aware of it, shows that this idea is clear to us. But for accuracy, this idea must also be distinct. In order for an idea to be distinct, we must be able to distinguish it from other ideas in our mind, that is, we must be able to draw its boundaries.
According to Descartes, clarity is the direct introduction of a concept to our mind, that is, our awareness of it. Differentiation is the ability to distinguish the concept from other ideas in our minds and to draw its boundaries.
In other words, the idea in question must be precise and clear in terms of what it means; should not be vague or blurry. Descartes argues that our thinking self is strictly separate from our body, so the idea of the “thinking self” is a distinct idea. Contains clarity. Thus, a distinctive idea becomes absolutely correct. Descartes also tended to explain this issue in relation to our senses. For example, something we see under sunlight gives us a clear information about what it is. However, this is not enough yet; If we can grasp what we see in all its aspects, in other words, if we can have an expert knowledge of it, then we will have a distinct knowledge of this thing. That is, we need to be able to distinguish all the constituent elements of the subject we are dealing with. Descartes gives the following example in this regard: knowing that we have a toothache is clear information for us, but a dentist’s diagnosis on this subject expresses a distinct level of knowledge. Because he knows clearly which tooth hurts and in what condition.
The important point here is that if we only have a clear idea about a subject, it means that we have not yet reached a fully accurate knowledge of that subject. In this case, we need to continue the search, to recognize or bring to light all the constituent elements of the phenomenon. Only then can we say that we have the right information on that subject. As it is seen, only being clear in terms of an idea does not include clarity and therefore accuracy. For accuracy, the clarity must be complete with clarity. Since this clarity can be grasped intuitively, Descartes’ ideal is primarily to reach intuitive-intuitive truths in philosophy. Then it will be easier to deductively reach other correct conclusions from these intuitive truths. How can we achieve these intuitive truths? If these were readily available, there would be no problem at the moment, and it would be easy to pass on to deductive inferences, just as in mathematics. The important thing here is to reach intuitive truths in the field of philosophy, just as in mathematics, which do not cause any doubt about their clarity and clarity. However, reaching the truths that do not cause any doubt in the field of philosophy does not seem as easy as in mathematics. In other words, the acceptance of intuition and deductive methods in this field is not sufficient as a start. Therefore, it is necessary to think a little more about the method: as Descartes stated in his Discourse on Method, everything seems open to doubt in philosophy. So, even if the process is difficult, we have to seek an undoubted truth or truths. For this reason, it would be appropriate to set some rules for the path we will follow.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook