Descartes 's Idea Of Certainty Essays

Descartes 's Idea Of Certainty Essays

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1. Page 70, first new paragraph. What conclusion does Descartes tentatively reach in this paragraph? What premises does he provide in support of this conclusion?
Descartes says that he has the ability to think—that if he has the ability to think, then he must have other abilities that he 's unaware of as well. However, he really questions the idea of certainty and how an individual can really be certain of something. Since you really can 't be certain because it 's really up to your own interpretation and your own understanding, then it 's really up to you to decide what 's considered to be certain. So if he 's certain that he perceives something, then it must be true, and then if something could be true, it could also potentially be false in someone else 's eyes. In reality there 's no general sense of what 's certain and what 's not. Therefore, Descartes goes ahead in saying that whatever he believes is going to be true. For example, you could interpret his definition of the term “truth” to be personal, so anything he sees can be false to others but true to him because he 's certain that he sees it. So truth essentially then is up to the individual to decide, and there isn 't an exact way of proving something to be "true" because he states that his knowledge is "a distinct perception of what I affirm."

2. Page 72, second new paragraph. What are the two reasons Descartes gives for the view that the ideas he believes (prior to skeptical arguments) to be derived from things resemble those things?
Descartes is talking about the outside world and the distinction between his own thoughts and thoughts that come from sensing. I think “taught by nature” means that he was born with the capacity to perceive and he talks about noticing thi...


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...h objective reality that it can only come from a supremely perfect cause?” So, basically it looks like he is saying that there is, in fact, a God. However, he is also questioning how we know about this God, and thinks that it must have been God’s doing to introduce the idea of a “God” to all beings after creation. So, essentially, there needs to be a God for this idea to have been introduced. Because this God is an idea that’s seemed to be universally accepted as a “perfect” and “infinite” God, it lies as a comparison for the individuals that He has created—that these people will never have the same power or knowledge that He has. And, God infused these ideas that there is a God and his power surpasses all into the individual essentially upon birth. It’s like being born with emotion—it wasn’t medically induced or anything similar, but it just came with your being.

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