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Descartes First Meditation Essay

907 words - 4 pages


Descartes’ first meditation, his main objective is to present three skeptical arguments to bring doubt upon what he considers his basic beliefs. Descartes believes this to be an intricate part of his complete epistemological argument. Descartes skeptical arguments are not intended to be a denial of his basic beliefs. On the contrary, he uses these arguments to help prove one of his main theses, which is the existence of God. One of the main premises that Descartes uses in his proof for the existence of God comes from the evil demon argument, which he proposed, in the first meditation. It is this evil demon argument, which will be the topic of the following discussion.
     The purpose of Descartes’ evil demon argument is to establish doubt upon his belief that God is the sole figure who puts thoughts into his mind. A God that he believes to be an omnipotent supremely good being, not capable of deceiving him or imposing falsehoods upon him. Out of the three skeptical arguments that Descartes proposes in the first meditation, it is the evil demon argument that is the most important. Both of Descartes other two arguments succeeded in their goal to establish doubt upon the existence of the outside world, which were the sensory illusion and dreaming arguments. However, people such as Descartes who believe in an omnipotent supremely good being, called God, could easily refute these arguments. Therefore, in order for Descartes to start from the very beginning, in terms of knowledge, he needed to find a way to bring doubt upon the very thing that was the basis for all his knowledge, which was God.
In the evil demon argument, Descartes is not denying the existence of God. The way the argument is presented, Descartes makes it seem as if the evil demon coexists with God. Therefore, when his mind is being deceived or being given false information it is not from God but from the evil demon. From this skeptical argument, one would come to doubt the existence of the external world. If an evil demon really existed there would be the possibility that the only part of our being that exists would be our minds, in whatever form that maybe, probably incorporeal. Therefore meaning that the world that we live in, the external world, is non-existent and merely a mirage placed into our minds by an evil demon. Obviously, to any sane person, this would sound irrational, but this is the possible world that Descartes presents to establish doubt in his common beliefs, mainly his belief that there exists an external world.
One of the questions that needs to be raised when discussing Descartes’ first meditation and his skeptical...

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