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Descartes And Berkeley Essay

1073 words - 5 pages

Rene Descartes builds his epistemic views in his meditations. In Meditation 1, he set out to rid himself of the false knowledge which was the foundation for which he built his life. If there was any doubt to these foundational beliefs, he threw the idea out. Descartes broke down his beliefs in Mediation 2 and found that he is a thinking thing and because he thinks, he exists. That is, he knew he is at least a mind. By Meditation 3, Descartes built upon the foundations of the two previous meditations and defined substances. First, there are modes which are the property of objects like green, smoothness, cherry-flavored. Then he said there are finite substances which are things like cups, trees, and bodies. He also recognized that his mind was a finite substance. God, however, is an infinite substances. Then Descartes went on to describe formal and objective reality. Formal reality is the reality an object has. Through this reasoning, modes depend on finite substances and finite substances depend on infinite substances. Objective reality is the reality the idea the object has. Through this reasoning, the idea of modes depends on the idea of finite substances and the idea of finite substances depends on the idea of infinite substances. By following that logic Descartes came to know that ideas about material things could originate from him, but the idea of God, perfect and infinite, could not originate from him because he is imperfect and finite. Additionally, Descartes reasoned that the idea of God (the highest objective reality) could only have come from God therefore God exists. In Meditation 4 Descartes determined that there was no evil demon deceiving him because that being would be imperfect. God, on the other hand, is perfect and therefore good. Through this way of knowing God, he can clearly and distinctly know other things because God is no deceiver. This is known as the clear and distinct rule and it states that everything I clearly and distinctly perceive is true. By the end of Meditation 5, Descartes knew things like math are true because he can clearly and distinctly perceive them and, again, because God is no deceiver, he holds things like math as truth. Additionally, he discovered the separation between the mind and the body. By the end of his meditations, Descartes’ epistemic views included a foundation of a few specific ideas. Descartes knew that God exists, God is good, he (Descartes) is a thinking thing, the senses are deceptive, the mind and body are separate things, external objects exist, and that math is a real thing.
Descartes is a Dualist in that he believes in two types of substances; mind and body. The mind, for example, is an immaterial thing whereas the body is a material thing and interacts with other material things in the material world. Descartes is a Dualist in that he believes the mind and body are separate things.
A critique of Descartes philosophy could center on the clear and distinct...

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