Descartes in his “Meditations on First Philosophy” is determined to wipe away all his conceived notions of truth, and to build his knowledge base from nothing, in order to have a more perfect and true knowledge. He writes of the origin of this course of action.
Some years ago I was struck by the large number of falsehoods that I had accepted as true in my childhood, and by the highly doubtful nature of the whole edifice that I had subsequently based on them. I realized that it was necessary, once in the course of my life, to demolish everything completely and start again right from the foundations if I wanted to establish anything at all in the sciences that was stable and likely to last. (Descartes 12).
Descartes goes on to elaborate upon what he means by this, he explains that all his current knowledge comes from his understanding of the physical world he perceives. I say perceives as Descartes finds that he can doubt his senses, and therefore his knowledge of the physical world. He cannot be sure what is real and what could be illusion in his understanding of the world, to dispel the illusion he conceives to find that which he cannot bring into doubt. He finds that all things can be called into doubt, all things but one, that which is his own ex...
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...ed’ we can know that they are not always 100% accurate. Even if the things we perceived have a 99% chance of being true, the remaining 1% has a great chance of effectively undermining our truth. Flip a coin 100 times, the chances of it landing on one side are 50/50, now the chance of getting the same side every time is 1/ (1.268*10^30), that’s point, 30 zeroes, 1268. The odds aren’t good for this occurrence, yet there is still the chance that the occurrence will happen, and since any occurrences (of this nature) can happen then it is perfectly conceivable that all of our sense knowledge from our years on the earth is wrong. Admittedly the odds of this are astronomical, but only 1 instance is enough to demolish our bank of sense data, in the same way a stick of dynamite will cause a car to explode, 100 stick will still demolish the car, albeit in a more profound way.
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