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Descartes Essay

1227 words - 5 pages

Descartes ignored all he believed to be true. He believed that if any belief can be doubted it is not certain, making it unusable as a foundation. Descartes jettisons any information, knowledge, or truths that are based on his senses. He applied the “Dream Argument,” (19) where he stated that based on the senses alone, there is no definite way of proving that you are dreaming or awake. Therefore, any truths based upon the senses are unreliable and doubtful. Descartes turned to why and how his senses were deceivable.
Descartes spent Meditation One attempting to disprove his fundamental beliefs. First, Descartes doubts that he is able to trust his senses because they are occasionally wrong. An example of this is a longed haired person that may look like a woman from a distance, but as you get closer you realize that it is really a man. The dream argument dealt with telling if one is asleep or awake. According to Descartes, there is no way for one to tell whether he or she is awake or not. We decide what is real and what we can sense. The problem is that your brain can trick your senses. What you believe is there may not in reality really be there. Dreams can many times feel quite realistic in nature. Since one cannot trust his or her senses, one can conclude that there is no way to determine whether he or she is awake or asleep. However, he admitted that there were certain “truths” that were consistent with whether he was awake or asleep. Mathematics and logic are ideas that hold true regardless of the situation For example, two plus three equals five and a square has four equal sides. These beliefs remained constant in all states of living.
In regard to dreams, Descartes spoke of what he called the “Evil Demon”. His “Evil Demon” argument was that one is being tricked by an outside source. This outside source has the ability to control all of one’s senses. One has no power at all to stop this evil demon from putting ideas into your head. If the evil demon can control all of one’s senses, nothing one senses or believes is present. Due to this, is it possible that a person has not done anything? What are you truly doing? There is a possibility that I dreamed writing this entire paper. My senses told me that I physically typed this paper. Was this all a dream? There were various background noises that distracted me while I was compiling this paper. Did I actually hear those noises? Descartes’ thinking is complex and really makes a person think of whether they dreamt or actually experienced a particular event.
Descartes disproved these beliefs by abandoning the idea of a supremely good God. He had believed in god all his life. He brought up the argument of a different kind of God. This God’s sole purpose was to deceive Descartes. Descartes' argument for the existence of God is then: if God is all perfection, existence is perfection. Therefore, God exists. Despite his many efforts to remove all imprecise information from his thoughts, Descartes'...

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