18) Epistemology as a search for the indubitability
of knowledge has truth at the epicentre of its enquiries.
or clarity), the empiricists asserted sensory data.
cogitans, no doubt because they did not attribute indubitability
For in her technical sense, indubitability
is not understood in the usual way: it concerns not "the power of the human mind to enter into a state of doubtfulness about a proposition," but instead the condition whereby "it is impossible both that the proposition be false and that I be doubting whether it is truer (100).
The practical Dutch were taken with Descartes' emphasis on the special role of mathematics and his "exciting promise to deliver the groundworks for an explanation of the entire physical universe which would provide a degree of certainty and indubitability
hitherto only achieved in geometry" (92).
Science's reliance upon generalisation from observation means that it can never reach the indubitability
of pure mathematics.
It turns out in Descartes's actual application of the method that it is not truth that Descartes apparently seeks and perhaps, not even certainty, as many have suggested, but indubitability
, Cartesian style certainty, leaves us shy of the goal.
Since the very purpose of "foundations" is to assure the indubitability
of knowledge, or at the very least the possibility of such unquestioned certainty, foundationalists ascribe universality to whatever principle they advance as the authenticator of truth claims.
Regarding the initial claim that Descartes' turn to subjectivity 'plunged philosophy into a prolonged crisis', Brinkmann maintains that the choice of certainty or indubitability
as standard of truth reveals the 'personal' nature of the Cartesian project: 'truth claims need to be certified and endorsed by the individual in order to be recognized as truths .
If classification benefits from the formidable indubitability
of eyesight and if, as is well known, Emerson identifies what the eye sees with what the I is, Emerson nevertheless makes his way as a man of letters, not as a scientist or a seer.