Essay on The Mind and the World: Descartes Meditations

Essay on The Mind and the World: Descartes Meditations

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C. Santos
Professor R. Boeker
The Mind and the World
Due: October 18, 2013


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.
Step one of Meditation One tells us to doubt everything that can be doubted deriving from our senses. Descartes argued that his senses have more than once deceived him, therefore he cannot completely trust his senses. Descartes method to construct an entirely new foundation to set his beliefs on, is called the method of doubt. The method of doubt suggest that in order to find out which beliefs are stable and which are not, we first have to pretend that everything we know is questionable. If Descartes can find any reason for doubt, regarding any of his beliefs, he will withhold assent and this will lead to finding secure foundations of knowledge. We cannot tell when our senses are correctly reporting truth or deceiving us. Just because some of our senses, such as our vision, hearing and touch, are mistaken, that is not reason enough to suspect all of them. The only reason we know that some of our experiences are wrong, is because we are able to realize after the event, that what we thought to be true, is actually wrong. However, Descartes argumen...


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... state. This argument is also faulty because there are things in our dreams that can only happen in our dreams not in our waking reality. Leading us to Descartes third argument, the evil genius argument. The evil genius argument asks whether or not a higher being is actually altering our thoughts to his liking. However, Descartes concludes with “I think, therefore I am” meaning that just the fact that we are indeed thinking lets us know that we exist. Descartes three skeptical arguments pose a few objections to the plausibility to each step.



Bibliography:
Taylor, Charles. "Meditation 1." Descartes' Meditations . N.p., 27 Jul 2005. Web. .

Larkin, W. PHIL 111: Introduction to Philosophy. N.p., 09 06 2003. Web. 18 Oct. 2013. .

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