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...
... middle of paper ...
... 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.
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.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Descartes' Meditations In Descartes’ meditations, Descartes begins what Bernard Williams has called the project of ‘pure enquiry’ to discover an indubitable premise or foundation to base his knowledge on, by subjecting everything to a kind of scepticism now known as Cartesian doubt. This is known as foundationalism, where a philosopher basis all epistemological knowledge on an indubitable premise. Within meditation one Descartes subjects all of his beliefs regarding sensory data and even existence to the strongest and most hyperbolic of doubts.... [tags: Philosophy Doubt Meditations Descartes Essays]
2133 words (6.1 pages)
- Descartes overall objective in The Meditations is to question knowledge. To explore such metaphysical issues as the existence of God and the separation of mind and body, it was important for him to distinguish what we can know as truth. He believed that reason as opposed to experience was the source for discovering what is of absolute certainty. In my explication, I will examine meditation two in order to discover why knowledge was so important to Descartes. Meditation One The first meditation acts as a foundation for all those that follow.... [tags: The Meditations Essays]
2784 words (8 pages)
- Descartes believes that knowledge comes from within the mind. This is a single indisputable fact to build on that can be gained through individual reflection. While seeking true knowledge, Descartes writes his Six Meditations. In these meditations, Descartes tries to develop a strong foundation, which all knowledge can be built upon. In the First Meditation, Descartes begins developing this foundation through the method of doubt. He casts doubt upon all his previous beliefs, including “matters which are not entirely certain and indubitable [and] those which appear to be manifestly false.” (Descartes, p.75, par.3) Once Descartes clears away all beliefs that can be called into doubt, he c... [tags: Meditations on First Philosophy Essays]
2108 words (6 pages)
- The Free Will in Meditations on First Philosophy by Descartes I In Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes takes the reader through a methodological exercise in philosophical enquiry. After stripping the intellect of all doubtful and false beliefs, he re-examines the nature and structure of being in an attempt to secure a universally valid epistemology free from skepticism. Hoping for the successful reconciliation of science and theology, Descartes works to reconstruct a new foundation of absolute and certain truth to act as a catalyst for future scientific research by “showing that a mathematical [rational-objective] physics of the world is attainable by creatures with our intellectua... [tags: Philosophy Philosophical Descartes Essays]
3757 words (10.7 pages)
- In the Meditations, Rene Descartes attempts to doubt everything that is possible to doubt. His uncertainty of things that existence ranges from God to himself. Then he goes on to start proving that things do exist by first proving that he exists. After he establishes himself he can go on to establish everything else in the world. Next he goes to prove that the mind is separate then the body. In order to do this he must first prove he has a mind, and then prove that bodily things exist. I do agree with Descartes that the mind is separate from the body.... [tags: essays research papers]
1633 words (4.7 pages)
- How Descartes Tries to Extricate Himself from the Skeptical Doubts He Has Raised [All page references and quotations from the Meditations are taken from the 1995 Everyman edition] In the Meditations, Descartes embarks upon what Bernard Williams has called the project of 'Pure Enquiry' to discover certain, indubitable foundations for knowledge. By subjecting everything to doubt Descartes hoped to discover whatever was immune to it. In order to best understand how and why Descartes builds his epistemological system up from his foundations in the way that he does, it is helpful to gain an understanding of the intellectual background of the 17th century that provided the motivation fo... [tags: Descartes Philosophy Meditations Essays]
4641 words (13.3 pages)
- Descartes’ Ultimate Purpose of the Meditations My initial approach to René Descartes, in Meditations on First Philosophy, views the third meditation’s attempts to prove the existence of God as a way of establishing a foundation for the existence of truth, falsity, corporeal things and eventually the establishment of the sciences. When viewed in this light, Descartes is accused of drawing himself into a ‘Cartesian circle,’ ultimately forcing this cosmological proof of God to defy Cartesian method, thus precipitating the failure of the third, fourth, fifth and sixth meditations.... [tags: Philosophy Religion Essays]
1766 words (5 pages)
- Descartes' Meditations The way Descartes chose to write this piece literature captivated me. Descartes was a very intelligent man who wanted to make sense of the world he lived in. The format he used was unusual. It seems to me that he may have used this format, which is a replication of the book of Genesis in the Bible, to have a deeper and more profound impact on the reader. There are many similarities between Descartes' Meditations and the first book of the Bible, Genesis. For example, Descartes' Meditations was written one day at a time, just as God had created the world one day at a time.... [tags: Papers]
1157 words (3.3 pages)
- Descartes' Meditations Descartes' work entitled Meditations, is a work on metaphysics in which Descartes hopes to achieve absolute certainty about three issues: the soul as "a thinking thing" distinct from or without a body, the belief that God exists, and the belief that the external world exists. In order to acquire absolutely certainty which can be applied to these issues, Descartes first lays a foundation of integrity on which to build his knowledge. The technique he uses to lay this base of integrity is doubt.... [tags: Papers]
1663 words (4.8 pages)
- Meditations is a discussion of metaphysics, or what is truly real. In these writings, he ultimately hopes to achieve absolute certainty about the nature of everything including God, the physical world, and himself. It is only with a clear and distinct knowledge of such things that he can then begin understand his true reality. Descartes starts by looking at our usual sources for truth. Authority, which is churches, parents, and schools, he says, are not reliable sources for truth because time shows we all die, and that we are eventually proved wrong, much in the same way the accepted truths of science have changed dramatically over the course of history.... [tags: essays research papers]
1326 words (3.8 pages)