I Shall Use Descartes ' Meditations 1 And Blackburn 's `` Think ``
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Initial answer: My initial answer is to the question of whether scientific knowledge should be based on observations is yes, observations are to be the basis of all scientific knowledge.
Philosophical context: I shall use Descartes’ Meditations 1 and Blackburn 's “Think” to discuss the question and my initial answer. In Meditations 1, Descartes sets out to destroy all preconceived notions from his childhood and establish a new foundation for the sciences -- a lasting foundation and explores methods of doubt to his own senses and how to deal with them properly.
Objection 1 to my initial answer: In Mediations 1, Descartes states that sometimes senses deceive us, so for all we know is that they always deceive us. This being the case he suggests that we should never trust something that has once deceived us, therefore ruling observations out from being a foundation for scientific knowledge. Descartes states that it is “prudent never to trust completely those who have deceived us once,” therefore senses should not be the basis of scientific knowledge.
Response to Objection 1: However, even though sense may sometimes deceive us, it does not mean that they always do. You can compare the statement “the senses sometimes deceive us. So for all we know, they always deceive us” with “some banknotes are forgeries. So for all we know, they are all forgeries.” This is what Blackburn writes in “Think” to point out that the argument is a fallacy -- the premise is true, but there is no way that the conclusion could be, logically. Descartes continues on, saying that not always do the senses deceive us, and doubt is quite improbable for them, even if they are sense derived; he also states that many of the illusions are from afar or at a glance, as...
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... deceiving you and how to tell if they are. In my initial answer I say that, yes they should be the foundation of scientific knowledge. I now have a modified view that, yes, they should be used but more carefully than was once thought. This modified statement comes from 1. while it is true that senses can deceive us, most don’t, and if you’re to observe something for a long period of time you can conclude with reasonable certainty that what you see if true. 2. It is within reasonable doubt to be able to tell whether you are in a dream, because of the continuity that real life provides, and even in dreams mathematics and science are still a constant because they are based on real concepts. 3. The evil demon is a far-fetched possibility, but as long as we realize we are able to think, that makes us real and able to use our observations to form our scientific knowledge.