Certainty is Decartes' Discourse of Method Essay

Certainty is Decartes' Discourse of Method Essay

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Rene Descartes' overall objective in publicizing "Discourse of Method" is to developing

a new system of knowledge that is free of prior prejudices for establishing the truth of

things. In Part 4 of the book he explains the philosophical basing (the meditations) for

establishing the new system. These meditations were based on the epistemological

theory of rationalism: that is if someone truly knows something then they could not

possibly be mistaken. He goes on to provide solid argument for his ideas. In Meditations

he comes to term with three certainties: the existence of the mind as the thing that thinks,

the body as an extension, and God as the supreme being. He attests that he came to these

conclusions by doubling all that had been taught to him in his formal education, and all

he received through the senses. In the "Discourse of Method" he states his first

uncertainty when he says, " I found myself embarrassed with so many doubts and errors

that it seemed to me that the effort to instruct myself had no effect other than the

increasing discovery of my ignorance". He has difficulty embracing the diverse, and

sometimes hypocrtical, ideas that he encountered in his studies. He thought all of his

confusions and indeterminate ideas were caused by the senses. Therefore, he first

jettisons any information, knowledge or truths that are based on his senses. Here, he

applies the "Dream Argument, " (32) where he states that based on senses alone, there is

no definite way of proving that you are dreaming or that you are awake. After all,

derams are indistinguishable from reality because during a dram, a person is unaware that

he is dreaming. In fact, no sing...

... middle of paper ...

...d, which is of an infinite being,

cannot arise from a mortal, a finite being. The idea of infinite must therefore be due to

the existence of an infinite, which must have placed this idea in him. Thus,

proving his theory of the existence of God. From the nature of the perfection that God

is, Decartes comes to conclusion that God is the ultimate causeless cause. Decartes holds that the innate idea of God that rises in the mind is sufficient proof of God's having made man in His own image. God's existence is the precondition of the existence of all other things, including the individual souls, and also of His idea in the human mind. Since there cannot be an idea of God without the existence of God. God is incorporeal, intelligence, all-knowing, good and just. He is omnipotent, eternal. He has no changes, no modes of attribute, no modifications.

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