It is one of those questions that will most likely never be answered. I mean, the mind itself is so perplexing that we are still learning stuff about it daily. One question that Descartes proposed was “how do we know?” we still are pondering this one today. We ask it almost every day, maybe not in that way but in some form or another. So honestly, how do we know?
Whenever Descartes started studying about the mind he denounced all of his previous opinions and started fresh. He first stated that “knowledge is seen as a building in which all the superstructure is resting on a foundation, and the building is only as strong as its foundation” (Palmer 55). He wasn’t trying to prove that all of his previous opinions were false but rather try to stay away from the things that he did not know whether or not they were true. This technique was known as the methodological doubt. It has a motto which states: Everything is to be doubted.
This required Descartes to doubt anything and everything that he was not for sure of. He was looking for something that could not be doubted at all, the foundation of knowledge. He first went at this a very rushed manner but then he realized that maybe he was going at it a little to fast. After slowing down he went back and looked at what he had already looked at and thought this: “But it may be that although the senses sometimes deceive us concerning other thing which are hardly perceptible, or very far away, there are yet many others to be met with as to which we cannot reasonably have any doubt, although we recognize them by their means. For example, there is the fact that I am here. How should I deny that thes...
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...him reach the truth. But he didn’t stop, he pushed on until he beat his dilemma. It was this mentality that helped him to succeed, he knew what he wanted to do and he wasn’t stopping until he achieved that.
Looking at all that Descartes did then one could say that he was a pretty successful person. He did what 95% of the world will never even be able to think about achieving in their lifetime. One could compare him to Bill Gates and say that he wasn’t as rich but I don’t think that Descartes really cared about riches. He had all that he had wanted and he was intellectually happy.
Descartes, Rene. Meditation II. Leiden: Michael Soly of Paris, 1641.
—. Meditations IV. Leiden : Michael Soly of Paris, 1641.
Palmer, Donald. Does The Center Hold? New York: Mcgraw-Hill, 2014.
Rachels, James and Stuart. Problems from Philosophy. New York: Mcgraw-Hill, 2012.
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