Descartes Essay

919 words - 4 pages

DescartesMany believe that the universe is infinite; others may believe that knowledge is infinite. The simple answer is that no one will ever know. Thankfully, we can form our own opinions and theories by studying famous and intriguing philosophers, such as Rene Descartes. Mankind has, and always will, seek to understand one another and the world around them. Discourse on Method is a work written by Rene Descartes that was published in 1637. In this work, Descartes declares the most famous and most important proposition in the history of modern philosophy. "I think, therefore I am." "These words indicated the comprehension of the existence of the self as a reality beyond doubt, and for that reason Descartes is known as the Father of Modern Philosophy" (Newman). Descartes' work suggests that our senses and perception rely on the mind rather than the body. So if our senses continuously deceive us, how can they be trusted? As stated in Mediations III, "I am a thing that thinks, that is to say, a thing that doubts, affirms, denies, knows a few things, is ignorant of many things, wills, rejects, and also imagines and senses" (Descartes, 23) .The process of Descartes' approach in his work, Discourse on Method, is to put it simply, Ifsomething can be doubted even a little, it must be completely rejected. In Mediations II, Descartes adds"I will go forward until I know something certain-or, if nothing else, until I at least know for certain thatnothing is certain," (Descartes, 17). The things one would assume to be automatically correct, must becompletely rejected should there be even the slightest doubt about them. Descartes proclaims that the"one thing that cannot be excluded and remains last of all is the perception." (Descartes, 30) InDescartes' wax argument, we find that the wax changes color and smell and melts into liquid whenbrought near a flame, but it is still wax. We can rely on our senses to help understand the true nature ofthings, but senses alone are not enough to determine the truth because senses are often deceived. So ifour senses continuously deceive us, how can they be trusted? Humans have awareness of form andshape through their five senses which gives humans perception of the world around them. "It is a factthat perception can sometimes be subconscious and conscious." (Fields) The solution is that Descartesfound we must rely on our minds to determine what is real.It seems a very bold point that many try to discredit Descartes on is a very important one. In thesixth mediation, Descartes claims that "mankind, and all of what we see in the world, is a product of"intellection". (Descartes, 9) This means that if we saw a table, it is only what the mind tells us to see, atable. Implying that humans do not have a direct...

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