preview

Descartes Six Meditations on First Philosophy

Better Essays
Throughout the six meditations on First Philosophy, French philosopher Rene Descartes seeks to find a concrete foundation for the basis of science, one which he states can only include certain and unquestionable beliefs. Anything less concrete, he argues will be exposed to the external world and to opposition by philosophical sceptics.

The sense of the Cartesian reform is the imposition of a new method of thinking. Descartes’ method to begin with is reductive, removing all knowledge acquired without control, to become analytical, putting forward any knowledge in a process of division to present simple elements, those which are clear and distinct. In his philosophical thinking, certain parts are dedicated to scepticism, dualism between body and the soul, the theory between existence and thinking, his idea of deceptive sensory perceptions and the existence of God. All these original particularities are the principle characteristics of Descartes’ philosophy of humanity. Throughout the First Meditation, Descartes questions what he already knows, applying his method of “methodical doubt”, a theory suggesting all things can be doubted and therefore one cannot accept anything unless proven with absolute certainty. He conjures three arguments to support his idea, the dreaming, madman and evil demon argument. Descartes’ Second Meditation proves his existence as a thinking being. Known as the Cogito argument, he argues one cannot be tricked about his own existence, meaning he cannot be around without being aware of it, therefore he must think and then he must exist. He also establishes Cartesian Dualism, an argument which suggests there are two fundamental substances, a mind and a body. Having demonstrated the existence of the soul in the ...

... middle of paper ...

...pacity to function through self-regulation, it is like a host container which guards the soul but without affecting its essence. While this may be an answer, the Cartesian theory cannot be fully proven, yet it does illustrate Descartes high concept of what is the soul and what is the mind.

In conclusion, the initiation in philosophy of methodological scepticism will constitute, after Descartes, becoming the obsessive theme of reflection of modern philosophy. Descartes’ mediations are the ones which expose the results of metaphysics based on principles. For the building of this philosophy those principles must be absolute certain. Descartes realises this and doubts all his previous knowledge, not to reach a sceptical conclusion but to find absolute certain elements beyond doubt, allowing him to find the foundation on which he can build the rest of his thinking.
Get Access