Descartes ' Meditations, Bouwsma, And Daniel C. Dennett 's Article On Who Am I?

Descartes ' Meditations, Bouwsma, And Daniel C. Dennett 's Article On Who Am I?

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Scepticism is the philosophical idea that with everything you experience, you don’t know anything, even though you may disagree with this claim and use natural truths, like mathematics for example, as backup. As said by Francks (2008, pg. 27), ‘a ‘Sceptical’ position is any theory which holds that people don’t know stuff. The most extreme form of Scepticism is the suggestion that human beings don’t actually know anything at all – we think we do, but we don’t.’ Within this essay, I am going to go into detail about Scepticism and argue my line of thought as to what I believe, while also bringing in the work of Descartes’ Meditations, Bouwsma’s response to his work, Descartes’ Evil Genius and Daniel C. Dennett’s essay of Who Am I?
The main two philosophers who discuss Scepticism are Rene Descartes and Oets Kolk Bouwsma. Descartes goes through three stages of doubt within Meditations, the first being Sensory Doubt. Typically, your senses are something to trust as they tell you about our surroundings, but Descartes argues that things are not as they seem and we should thus doubt our senses. He says that our senses are lying to us and actually deceive us about the natural world and things around us. (Descartes and Clarke, 1998, p.19). A good example that backs up his idea of sensory doubt is optical illusions. Optical illusions are things ‘that deceive[s] by producing a false or misleading impression of reality’. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/optical-illusion , 2015). As Descartes says, ‘…it is prudent never to trust those who have deceived us, even if only once.’ (Descartes and Clarke, 1998, p.19). The second stage of doubt is Dream Doubt. Descartes argues the idea that you can’t tell the difference between reality and the st...


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...ary that the "me" who was doing the thinking was something; and noticing that this truth--I think, therefore I am--was so certain and sure that all the wildest suppositions of skeptics could not shake it, I judged that I could unhesitatingly accept it as the first principle of the philosophy for which I was seeking.
In my opinion and to conclude, I believe that Descartes’ proposed idea within Meditations, especially within Demon Doubt of being sceptical of everything, to me, is the correct view that one should take and thus is the most compelling argument for Scepticism. I believe this because quite literally, how can we know that we’re not in a dream-like state, governed by the demon? Yes, a priori knowledge, empirical truths and reasoning alongside innate ideas would shatter this fake reality, but the idea of doubt and not really knowing what we know still remains.

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