In “Meditations,” Rene Descartes presents the idea on whether we can be certain we know what we think we know. To demonstrate this, Descartes presents three stages of doubt. The first stage of doubt he presents is the senses argument, followed by the dream argument and finally the voluntarist argument. Each stage of doubt is compelling since it shows that many of the information can easily be dubitable. After Descartes is finished analyzing what is dubitable and indubitable he begins to construct the proof of God’s existence. Descartes establishes many premises to prove the existence of a god or an all powerful being. Lastly, Descartes comes to the conclusion that there must be a universe based on the concept of Dualism.
(1) Descartes introduces his argument by placing an epistemological constraint on all the values he has developed throughout his years. To satisfy his epistemological constraint, Descartes decides to use hyperbolic doubt as a method as opposed to another method because he is able to arrive to knowledge that he knows is indubitable in a shorter amount of time. Hyperbolic doubt also provides a solid foundation and is a faster way to get rid of what can be doubted.
The first stage of doubt Descartes presents is the sense argument, he states how even though a large portion of our beliefs is based on the senses they should not always be trusted since the senses can often deceive us. Descartes also states “It is only prudent never to place complete confidence in that by which we have once been deceived.” (pg. 14). Which states that it is foolish to trust any piece of information that has been obtained by the senses, since they have deceived you at least once. Yet when one does not place their trust in their senses ...
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... we would still be able to understand it.
Given everything Descartes has talked about, we know these ideas and images exist. We also know there must be a cause to these ideas and since we cannot be the cause; therefore, God or another powerful force must be the cause of the images we have. Descartes states that there must be another corporeal reality that exists, the type of universe Descartes means is dualism. This means that there are two types of realities that are present and coexist.
Ultimately, Descartes has taken an immense leap considering he goes from being uncertain about knowing everything, to establishing he is a thing that thinks and he believes that every effect must have a cause, therefore for us to have the idea of a God, a higher being must have placed it in our heads. Descartes also believes that we live in a world where the material world and the
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