This paper will look at each philosopher’s argument, point out what philosopher does the best at arguing for the empirical state of the world and God, and finally use the best arguments to show everything we can truly know through empirical justification. John Locke's account of knowledge can be summed up in that we can know ideas of modes and not ideas of substances. This will become much clearer as we delve into why and how John Locke comes to this conclusion. To begin with, John Locke throws away the longstanding notion that we can have innate ideas, thus disallowing those ideas to play a part in justified knowledge. Locke's argument is that if innate ideas exist, then they must be in every single human without them being taught.
According to Descartes, “because our senses sometimes deceive us, I wanted to suppose that nothing was exactly as they led us to imagine (Descartes 18).” In order to extinguish his uncertainty and find incontrovertible truth, he chooses to “raze everything to the ground and begin again from the original foundations (Descartes 59).” This foundation, which Descartes is certain to be the absolute truth, is “I think, therefore I am (Descartes 18).” Descartes argues that truth and proof of reality lies in the human mind, rather than the senses. In other words, he claims that the existence of material objects are not based on the senses because of human imperfection. In fact, he argues that humans, similarly to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, are incapable of sensing the true essence or existence of material objects. However, what makes an object real is human thought and the idea of that object, thus paving the way for Descartes’ proof of God’s existence. Because the senses are easily deceived and because Descartes understands that the senses can be deceived, Descartes is aware of his own imperfection.
Peirce opens up the work by rebutting ideas and definitions from traditional philosophy. Peirce ironically challenges “logicians” for forming definitions of clearness that lack clarity, and then claims the logicians definition distinctness only has a place “in philosophies that have long been extinct.” (1) Clearness has been an afterthought of Philosoph... ... middle of paper ... ...he same ideas and eventually the all come back with the same conclusion. This idea is the foundation for Peirce’s views on truth and reality. “The opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate, is what we mean by the truth, and the object represented in this opinion is the real. That is the way I would explain reality.
The relationship between rhetoric and truth is a highly conflicted topic. Two philosophers that discuss this topic are Plato and Nietzsche. Plato argues that rhetoric is merely a useful craft that deals only in the subjective and material world rather than in the pursuit of true knowledge. Nietzsche, on the other hand, argues that absolute truths are unobtainable since individuals are incapable of being completely objective, thereby rendering the debate between rhetoric and truth meaningless. Although both are valid points of view, Nietzsche’s argument appears to hold more weight insofar as it seems to solve the debate between rhetoric and truth by eliminating absolute truth altogether.
Descartes' Method of Doubt In this essay I will assess Descartes's employment of his Method of Doubt, as presented in his Meditations on the First Philosophy [Descartes 1641]. I will argue that by implicitly accepting a causal model of perception, Descartes did not apply the Method of Doubt as fully as he could have. The Method of Doubt Descartes's principal task in the Meditations was to devise a system that would bring him to the truth. He wanted to build a foundational philosophy; a basic edifice from which all further intellectual enquiry could be built. It was essential that his foundational beliefs were sound.
So this kind of philosophy seems to be a fortiori charged to give a good deal of pedagogical help for its own sake. The respective philosophical educations (paideiai) have to fight against the realist as well as the idealist tendencies of interpretation. Positively it is not enough for them to represent what is essential to transcendentalism as a genus; they must particularly transmit what is specific to Kant's "Criticism", to Descartes' "Metaphysics" or to Fichte's "Doctrine of Science". I. Rene Descartes was the first one to fully realize that reliable orientation could never passively be found in "things" or "institutions".
Knowledge in this school of thought must be founded upon necessary truths (those that must be true and cannot be false); our ideas are derived from our experience; everything we experience is finite, but we do have the idea of infinity or else we couldn’t conceive of things as finite. Descartes and Leibniz are well-known rationalists (handout on Rationalism versus Empiricism). Empiricism, on the other hand, is the concept that knowledge is grounded in experience, not reason, and our minds begin as a tabula rasa (term used by the great empiricist, John Locke meaning blank slate). Reason, for empiricists, can only process the ideas experience gives us. Knowledge is also founded on contingent truths (those that can be false and true); necessary truths are only good for organizing our ideas, as in mathematics, but that is all.
Descartes attempted to use the fundamentals of knowledge and the method of doubt he used during his time of mediation became an essential part of epistemology. Descartes meditations can be described as doubt. He tries to find something that will last and stay stable. By him doubting all known facts, he shows purpose and asks the question if anything is really and truly certain. Descartes looked at history and discovered that facts that were thought to be completely true actually were later found to be wrong.
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.
He does this by beginning with the only thing he knows to be true: That, through doubt, he must exist. By knowing he doubts, he then knows that he doesn't know everything. This make him imperfect. But to know you are imperfect, Descartes reasons, must mean that you have a concept of perfection (Thomson 26). This allows him to verify how he has a rational idea of a prefect being, God.