In meditation one of Descartes Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes presents the framework for his philosophy. Recalling unjustified views that he held as a child, Descartes presents his goal as the search for beliefs that are beyond doubt. If we can find what these beliefs are, Descartes posits, we have found a stable foundation with which to build off of in the pursuit of all further knowledge. In pursuit of this goal, Descartes outlines his methods: he will assume nothing, and only accept as true that which cannot be doubted for any reason, ridiculous or otherwise. Two arguments are presented to provide a seed of doubt into as many of our beliefs as possible. The first argument is often refereed to as the Dream Argument. When we dream while asleep, the things that the we perceive are often not in accordance with reality; suppose we dream that we are flying though in reality we are merely lying down in bed for example. Descartes argues that, despite whatever distinctions we thi...
... middle of paper ...
...ail to reach it's end in a manner acceptable against Descartes' initial standards for justified true knowledge. In short, we can never know beyond any doubt that there exists a supremely good God, and consequently we can never know beyond any doubt whether or not we are somehow deceived about anything beyond the most simple intuitions.
To conclude, it should be noted that Descartes' failure does not necessarily warrant any negative attention, nor does it detract from any of his other accomplishments. Future philosophers, such as John Locke and David Hume, took the essentials of what Descartes tried to prove in Meditations on First Philosophy as given premises. In that Descartes had set out to form an impenetrable foundation for the formation of human knowledge, it seems that he has failed; this, however, merely acts as a reaffirmation of the difficulty of the task.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Within Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes undertakes a worthy goal: the discovery of the sources of doubt with the ultimate result being more truthful opinions, assertions, and arguments. Descartes was well ahead of his times, forging a pathway to more rigorous scholarship through the casting of doubt upon his “opinions”. Unfortunately, however, Descartes was either unable or unwilling to cast doubt upon his primary source of fallibility: his exaltation of all things cerebral and his concurrent disdain for the physical body.... [tags: Descartes, Book Analysis, Philosophy]
1443 words (4.1 pages)
- Descartes believes that knowledge comes from within the mind. This is a single indisputable fact to build on that can be gained through individual reflection. While seeking true knowledge, Descartes writes his Six Meditations. In these meditations, Descartes tries to develop a strong foundation, which all knowledge can be built upon. In the First Meditation, Descartes begins developing this foundation through the method of doubt. He casts doubt upon all his previous beliefs, including “matters which are not entirely certain and indubitable [and] those which appear to be manifestly false.” (Descartes, p.75, par.3) Once Descartes clears away all beliefs that can be called into doubt, he c... [tags: Meditations on First Philosophy Essays]
2108 words (6 pages)
- In Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes does and experiment with wax to try to prove that things actually exist in this world. This essay is going to prove how we can tell that things actually exist and what can perceive the wax. Rene Descartes starts off with a description of the wax so he can prove to us the changes that will happen throughout his experiment. “Let us take, for instance, this piece of wax. It has been taken quite recently from the honeycomb; it has not yet lost all the honey flavor.... [tags: meditation on first philosophy]
1226 words (3.5 pages)
- Rene Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy Rene Descartes set the groundwork for seventeenth century rationalism, the view opposed by the empiricist school of thought. As a rationalist, Descartes firmly believed in reason as the principal source of knowledge. He favoured deduction and intellect over the senses and because of this he did not find comfort in believing that his opinions, which he had developed in his youth, were credible. It is for this reason that Rene Descartes chose to “raze everything to the ground and begin again from the original foundations,” (13).... [tags: rationalism, doubt, knowledge]
1319 words (3.8 pages)
- Descartes' Meditations In Descartes’ meditations, Descartes begins what Bernard Williams has called the project of ‘pure enquiry’ to discover an indubitable premise or foundation to base his knowledge on, by subjecting everything to a kind of scepticism now known as Cartesian doubt. This is known as foundationalism, where a philosopher basis all epistemological knowledge on an indubitable premise. Within meditation one Descartes subjects all of his beliefs regarding sensory data and even existence to the strongest and most hyperbolic of doubts.... [tags: Philosophy Doubt Meditations Descartes Essays]
2133 words (6.1 pages)
- ... With that in mind, the meditator acknowledges that his senses can be deceived. Although most of the time his sensory knowledge is true, he notes that while dreaming, he is often convinced that what he senses is real. As he reflects on this, he remarks, “I see so plainly that there are no definitive signs by which to distinguish being awake from being asleep” (Descartes, 19). The sensations he feels and the images he sees in dreams are all derived from real life experiences. The narrator links this to art; the composite image consists of numerous real things.... [tags: Descartes, perception, proving God's existence]
1300 words (3.7 pages)
- The fourth Meditations of Descartes show that God cannot be a deceiver at all, as God is infinitely good. To judge something it is required to have understanding and will and we should know that the understanding is infinite or in other words it is the faculty, which brings us very close to God. Errors occur when will assents though it does not understand or perceive distinctly. So from this fact we can understand that error is ours and it is not committed by God. He also cannot be blamed for giving us an infinite will, as the will is nothing but a simple infinite entity.... [tags: error, deceiver, God]
984 words (2.8 pages)
- In the field of philosophy there can be numerous answers to a general question, depending on a particular philosopher's views on the subject. Often times an answer is left undetermined. In the broad sense of the word and also stated in the dictionary philosophy can be described as the pursuit of human knowledge and human values. There are many different people with many different theories of knowledge. Two of these people, also philosophers, in which this paper will go into depth about are Descartes and Plato.... [tags: Compare Contrast philosophy]
1499 words (4.3 pages)
- The Logical Fallacies of Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy includes a proof for the existence of material objects, such as trees. Descartes accomplishes this by first doubting all things, from which he learns that he can be certain of nothing but his own existence as a thinking thing. From this established certainty, Descartes is able to provide proof for the existence of God, and, finally proof of the existence of material objects. Descartes’ proof of God, however, from which the proof of material things is made possible, is suspect: the proof relies on knowledge of clear and distinct ideas but knowledge of clear and distinct ideas... [tags: Philosophy Religion Essays]
2340 words (6.7 pages)
- Serious Errors within Rene Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy One of Rene Descartes’ major culminations in Meditations on First Philosophy is “I must finally conclude that this proposition, I am, I exist, is necessarily true whenever it is put forward by me or conceived in my mind” (Descartes:17). This statement can be explicated by examining Descartes’ Cartesian method of doubt and his subsequent discovery of basic truths. Even though I do believe that Descartes concludes with a statement that is accurate: cogito ergo sum, there are areas of his proof that are susceptible to defamation.... [tags: Philosophy Religion Essays]
1094 words (3.1 pages)