I contend that, based upon the arguments presented in the Second Meditation, Descartes shows that we can use our senses to help us understand the true nature of things, but the senses alone are inadequate to determine truth (since they are often deceived), and that all that may be known with certainty (truth) are those things we know by our judgment, thinking, and understanding of them in our minds. Descartes' argument does not necessarily reject any role of the senses in the process of understanding.
Descartes was born 1596 in France. At eight years old he was already in college. Descartes was a scientist and was also known as the father of modern Western Philosophy. He is famous for his book “The mediations of philosophy,” first published in 1641. He is much like me because he refused to stem off other philosophers thought. Instead, he created his philosophy. He is most famous for his quote “I think therefore I am.” This paper will include Descartes doubt, Descartes the cogito, his knowledge of the material world. The principles of the Cartesian epistemology. The “light of nature.”
It is human nature to question our origins and wonder if we have purpose in this world. Rene Descartes sought to answers these questions by examining himself and God through his Meditations. In Meditation II, Descartes believes his mind is certain because he is able to perceive and understand thoughts. His many questions lead him from one idea of certainty to the next. The explanations of these ideas are clear enough for his argument to be considered true.
Rene Descartes just proved to us two things throughout this essay. One being how we can tell that things actually exist and the other was how the mind can grasp and perceive the wax.
Claiming that the different senses have perceived in him the way once was before it came in contact with the heat, but still remains the same, although being perceived in a different way, but with the same senses as before except for it being liquid after the heat but remains with the same other traits he mentioned. Therefore, this is how he establishes his claim of the Aristotelian intellect and Cogito inference by rejecting everything and doubting its existence and separating the nature of the body and mind as the body being a non-extended thinking thing such as the senses, and the mind being a thinking thing that can extend. Descartes states that he perceives the wax through the mind alone and says that perception is not an imagination, touching or seeing but it is an inspection of the mind
Descartes presents three skeptical arguments in his meditations which shows he has reason to doubt all of his sensory beliefs. Descartes ultimately aims to free himself from all bad beliefs. His quest for certainty is driven from his belief that our belief system is built on a foundation of basic beliefs, that are not justified, in turn, causing him to believe that all his other beliefs are uncertain, as well. His method for achieving a system immune from errors is described in three steps from Meditation One. Descartes three skeptical arguments pose a few objections to the plausibility to each step.
In his first meditation, Descartes proposes an argument unheard of by many, that of which the beliefs that are built upon societal foundations may be false, due to the false perception of our human senses. In this paper, I will explain why Descartes attempts to rebuild the foundations of our beliefs and explain the differences between the reality of Descartes and the socially acceptable reality. First, I will expand on Descartes ' argument against the socially accepted reality in which we do not question. Then, I will show you how Descartes defines what is truly a definitive constant of reality no matter the foundational structures they were built upon and defend it. Finally, I will use examples to show you how Descartes proves existence.
A study of Descartes explained it as, “He considers a piece of wax: his senses inform him that it has certain characteristics, such as shape, texture, size, color, smell, and so forth. However, when he brings the wax towards a flame, these characteristics change completely. However, it seems that it is still the same thing: it is still a piece of wax, even though the data of the senses inform him that all of its characteristics are different. Therefore, in order properly to grasp the nature of the wax, he cannot use the senses: he must use his mind.” Descartes concludes: "Thus what I thought I had seen with my eyes, I actually grasped solely with the faculty of judgement, which is in my mind." Therefore, consciousness starts in the organs and the moves to the sensations of the mind, and into the state where memories, values, beliefs, etc. exist. It is an emergent property.
Within Descartes second mediation two types of philosophical ideology are in contrast with each other, which include both the empiricists and rationalists. The empiricists believe in knowledge through experience while the rationalists believe in knowledge derived from logic. Descartes uses the idea and concept of ‘wax’ to understand on what grounds the wax’s reality is. Is it truly wax? How do you know wax to be wax when it no longer looks the same, smells the same, or feels the same? Descartes uses his rational thinking mind to help him understand how he knows the wax to truly be wax even when melted. I believe in the rationalistic ideology more so then the empiricists because I value knowledge through logic more then knowledge through experience. I rather use my judgment on an unknown object then to experience what the object may be. For example, I would rather come to know that a chair is a weapon based on the judgment of that chair in the context that it is being used, rather then relying on my senses and experience. Although I hold the empirical way of thinking, knowledge through experience, to a high value, I believe that the rational way of thinking allows for a better understanding of both ideas and objects due to the importance of judgment.
Descartes explains that he has a clear and distinct idea of himself as a thinking and non-extended thing, and a clear and distinct idea of his body as a non-thinking and extended thing. He argues that it is possible for God to create anything that can be clearly and distinctly perceived, and therefore if God creates something to be independent of another, they are, in fact, distinctive. Thus, because Descartes can understand himself as a thinking thing that does not require the existence of a body, and can understand his body as an extended thing that does not require a mind, that this must be truth. Therefore he concludes that the mind is a substance distinct from the body, a substance whose essence is thought.