For this week’s meeting, we read Sections 1-12 of part 1 of the OEP, and continued discussing the Argumental Discourse.
Sorry for getting this post up late.
Here is a brief summary of some of the topics we covered:
- Cavendish’s “former thoughts” reply to an objection that her views on interior self-knowledge of all matter and the perceptual knowledge that comes from being self-moving matter requires a sort of double-counting of knowledge or lives. We attempted to puzzle out the objection.
- We talked a bit more about the relationship between body, figure, and motion, for Cavendish
- Cavendish is insistent on some sort of isolation of the sense modalities, in terms of the knowledge they can attain, but also regards them all as sources of knowledge.
- Cavendish takes a fairly strong stand in favor of “rational perception” as the grounds of our knowledge, rather than sense perception.
- Our principle errors come from being finite perceivers attempting to perceive an object (nature) that is infinite.
- Cavendish extensively criticizes microscopy, arguing that valuable science would be seeking advances in agriculture, animal breeding, architecture (for improving shelter), economics, and the science of improving schools and courts of law, as well as unifying churches. In my favorite quote from the selection, Cavendish gives this analogy for the work being done by microscopers:
“But, as boys that play with watery bubbles or fling dust into each other’s eyes, or make a hobbyhorse of snow, are worthy of reproof rather than praise, for wasting their time with useless sports; so those that addict themselves to unprofitable arts, spend more time than they reap benefit thereby.”
- We also discussed some of Cavendish’s views on how figure grounds properties like weight.
- We discussed the possibility of reading some of Cavendish’s philosophical poetry as part of our readings.
The reading for next time is sections 13-23.