Rene Descartes was a French Philosopher, and is often referred to as “The Father of Modern Philosophy”. According to Descartes it is useless to claim something is real unless we understand how a claim could be known as justifiable belief. To say our beliefs are justified we have to base them of a belief that is itself indubitable (impossible to doubt). Descartes states that a belief that is indubitable provides a foundation in which all beliefs can be grounded from.
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’ Meditations on First Philosophy is a philosophical work consisting of six meditations of things Descartes establishes cannot be known for certain, as well as attempts to establish all things that can be known undoubtedly. Descartes was one of the first major Western philosophers to attempt to construct a foundation of certainty about knowledge.
Descartes studied the notions of truth, belief, and justification. His pursuit was to find the truth with certain knowledge that he acquired. Descartes’s believes that our mind and body are separate; therefore he could not trust his own senses. In order to reconstruct his knowledge to the point were there was no doubt he must only trust clear and distinct ideas. He argues that the mind is immaterial and the body is material, which he states as dualism and are independent substances. He states that the only thing to be trusted is the mind since it is what defines that “I” exist. Because we can’t trust or senses then is the body part of a dream or an illusion? We are humans and what completes us is our mind and body together as one. Our senses
Descartes claims that intellect as thinking being extended as to the Aristotelian claiming intellect as a thought. He claims that there must be a conception of what the thing that thinks underlies the Cogito inference in which registers these sufficient grounds. He establishes this argument by suggesting that it must exclude anything that requires the existence of anybody from the essential properties of the ‘they’ that thinks. Therefore claiming that mind is an extended thinking thing and the body being a non-extended thinking thing. He established these claims by first questioning everything he sees and doubting of everything that he sees is false and that his deceitful memory represents ever existed. Also excluding the senses and questioning
The next very important step for Descartes is to establish a criterion of certainty. By examining the truths which he discovered in the course of his second meditation, he decides that all of them have in common the properties of being clear and distinct. Descartes says, “So, I now seem to be able to lay it down as a general rule that whatever I perceive very clearly and distinctly is true.” Descartes adds another item to the list of things which he knows clearly and distinctly---ideas.
In this paper I will describe the foundationalist structure of Descartes’ arguments in his work Meditations on First Philosophy. Foundationalism is the view that there are some beliefs are epistemologically basic and can be known without knowing anything else is true (Loeb, Lecture 1-14). For example, philosophers such as Descartes would acknowledge that geometric truths, such as 2 + 2 = 4, are so fundamental that they don’t need to be proven through argumentation. Thus, these truths can provide the basic foundation for further arguments. In my paper, I will show that two foundational claims of Descartes are first, the existence of the mind, and second, the existence of God. From these claims Descartes derives many others, including the argument for material objects and souls. As I lay out Descartes’ case, I will examine the philosophical soundness and validity of his foundationalist account, as well as its merits and potential weaknesses. In the end, I will conclude that Descartes’ foundationalism, while alluring in its simplicity, does not survive deeper investigation.
Rene Descartes uses the Skeptical method to re-examine everything he knows and form concrete beliefs in the process. In some of his meditations he touches on the body verses mind dichotomy. First, the “body” and “mind/soul” need to be differentiated. Rene Descartes and Simon Blackburn lace definitions of these two entities through their writings. In his second meditation Descartes briefly discusses the difference between the mind and body. Descartes notes that he pulled this thought from his old, misguided days, but it is still useful for defining these two terms, as it gets the essence of difference between them. He writes, “I had a face, hands, arms, and the whole structure of bodily parts that corpses have – I call it the body. The next belief was that I ate and drank, that I moved about, and that I engaged in sense perception and thinking; these things, I thought, were done by the soul” (4). Basically, the main activity of the body is movement and sustenance, while the mind is used for sensing and thinking. Blackburn calls him a substance dualist. He further explains this distinction in discussion Descartes dualism, “thoughts and experiences ate modifications in one kind of stuff; movement and position belongs to the other” (51). The body’s basic function is movement and the mind’s basic function is sensing – one is tangible, while the other is
Based on Professor Simone Glynn’s lectures consciousness is where impressions, dreams, memories, values and fantasies exist. Physically, It is the results of a chemical simulation of the brain; when physical things are structured in a certain way, it creates or gives rise to consciousness; emergent property.
Rene Descartes decision to shatter the molds of traditional thinking is still talked about today. He is regarded as an influential abstract thinker; and some of his main ideas are still talked about by philosophers all over the world. While he wrote the "Meditations", he secluded himself from the outside world for a length of time, basically tore up his conventional thinking; and tried to come to some conclusion as to what was actually true and existing. In order to show that the sciences rest on firm foundations and that these foundations lay in the mind and not the senses, Descartes must begin by bringing into doubt all the beliefs that come to him by the senses. This is done in the first of six different steps that he named "Meditations" because of the state of mind he was in while he was contemplating all these different ideas. His six meditations are "One:Concerning those things that can be called into doubt", "Two:Concerning the Nature of the Human mind: that it is better known than the Body", "Three: Concerning God, that he exists", "Four: Concerning the True and the False", "Five: Concerning the Essence of Material things, and again concerning God, that he exists" and finally "Six: Concerning the Existence of Material things, and the real distinction between Mind and Body". Although all of these meditations are relevant and necessary to understand the complete work as a whole, the focus of this paper will be the first meditation.