Descartes: Evil Demon Essay

1532 words - 7 pages

Karthik Keni
Phil 21
Greg Antill
Part A: 1. The Evil Demon Argument
In Descartes’ First Meditation, he completely shatters the foundations of his previous beliefs and then uses the evil demon argument as a platform in which he can explain the source of his beliefs. Descartes proposes the evil demon argument because he wants to instill doubt not only in himself, but also in his audience that God may not be the only “Supreme Being”. He believes God to be a good being that wouldn’t deceive us and lead our thoughts astray. The evil demon argument has the purpose of casting doubt on his belief that God is the only being who has the capability of implementing thoughts into his mind, creating ...view middle of the document...

Possibility in this argument could be defined as something that could cast even the smallest doubt of existence of an evil demon that controls human beings. Descartes’ evil demon argument continues with this possibility of a mirage world and this aids his main objective of finding a strong foundation for true knowledge.
Descartes would like to find a base for knowledge that would leave without a doubt and that would be defined as definite certainty. He uses the evil demon argument to find this definite certainty because his claims in the argument create a systematic doubt. This systematic and methodical doubt is a step-by-step process in which he claims in Premise II that anything that has even the slightest chance to be doubted should be perceived as being false and wrong. With this skeptical argument stating that there is a possibility that the evil demon is controlling our mind, then we can’t completely trust our senses because they’re doubtful and thus must be perceived as false. The whole purpose of Descartes in this line of thinking is to find that definite certainty for which he can create a foundation for all knowledge. The evil demon argument provides support to the idea that nothing in our external world is definitely certain, and that this argument must be verified as false if he wants to continue his objective of finding true knowledge.
The evil demon argument provides a platform for Descartes to doubt the certainty of our senses because it was seen as a radical stance at the time because of the pressure by the empirical movement in Europe. Another philosopher by the name of David Hume believed that all our knowledge was attained through our senses. The evil demon argument did not only support his idea that we could cast doubt on the existence of an external world, but also that one could question the belief that God was the only one who could implement thoughts into our mind. His existence of God is much a bigger issue but this lays down foundation for him when he tries to prove the existence of God in the Third Meditation. Another secondary function of the evil demon argument is that he continues to look for definite certainty of knowledge and that this theory must be proven to be false, otherwise he would not be able to continue searching for the foundation of true knowledge.
Part B: 4. Dream Argument vs. Argument From Illusion
The Dream Argument and the Argument from Illusion found in the First Meditation of Descartes both contain similarities and dissimilarities as skeptical arguments. However, with dissimilarities these arguments must be evaluated in a different light as two separate entities. Thus, Descartes made them separate arguments in his First Meditation and as a part of three main arguments to lay foundation of casting doubt of his life up to this point. Both of these arguments are comparable in nature with purpose and structure, however differences between the Dream Argument and the Argument from Illusion allow us...

Other Papers Like Descartes: Evil Demon

Read Descartes, Meditations 1 And 2. What Is The Significance Of The Wake/Sleep Contrast In These Two Meditations?

756 words - 4 pages similarities during wakefulness and sleep is by no mean fortuitous, but done so purposely be an evil demon who's sole purpose is to deceive us, to ensure that there is no contrast at all between being awake and sleeping.Descartes' Dream Argument is also a comprehensive ground for doubting a posteriori beliefs, beliefs that rely on our senses. If one is dreaming, than a posteriori beliefs formed to this experience is unreliable. However, as pointed

“I Know That There Is a Mind-Independent, External World.”

1370 words - 6 pages through a purely intellectual perspective. The first thing Descartes realizes he can be certain of is his own existence for he would have to exist to be able to think and have ideas about many things (p. 64). In finding reality about the existence of an external world, Descartes considers the only four possible source of his ideas of external world: (i) oneself, (ii) God, (iii) an evil demon, and (iv) the external things themselves. (i) cannot be true

Philosophy

1784 words - 8 pages , understanding, willing, and imagining – he cannot doubt his existence (Descartes 1641/1962). This claim refutes his strongest sceptical argument of the evil demon. Descartes concludes that he has to be something if he is conscious about it, and that even if a demon is deceiving him, it follows that he cannot be nothing (Descartes 1641/1962). His knowledge of his existence is certain. His second conclusion further illuminates our innate "light of reason

Describing A System Of Knowledge

1507 words - 7 pages arithmetic and geometry, which depend on simple and easily explainable truths, but he ultimately does not provide fully compelling evidence that those truths can be included in the system of knowledge (Descartes 352). Instead he proposes that God could be an evil demon that deceives us and creates inaccuracies in even these basic truths, but then in Mediation Two accepts the existence of God as a benevolent being and allows these truths to exist in the

Philosophy 201

815 words - 4 pages , Descartes went on to argue for the existence of God, who would not, due to his goodness, allow us to be continually deceived by an evil demon.” (Dew, p.152) What I got from Descartes’ words was; what would be the point? God created us, he loves us; He is good, so why would he want to deceive us for our entire lives, what is the point? Plato’s concept is very similar to the creation of The Matrix. Through a dialogue, he was questioning the fact of

Essay on Epistemology

1134 words - 5 pages correspond to them. This is my first leap of faith, if you will, since this cannot be proven as we shall now see. Returning to Descartes, let me bring into play his Evil Demon (from his 1641 Meditations on First Philosophy). This is analogous to the modern brain in a vat, or The Matrix in its ontology and implications. All of these thought experiments (or indeed realities) state that we could be existing in a world controlled by an evil demon (or hooked

Epistemology

2770 words - 12 pages debates on this subject, see Great thinkers. Absolute Certainty and the Cartesian Circle by the IEP Recall that in the First Meditation Descartes supposed that an evil demon was deceiving him. So as long as this supposition remains in place, there is no hope of gaining any absolutely certain knowledge. But he was able to demonstrate God’s existence from intuitively grasped premises, thereby providing, a glimmer of hope of extricating himself from

Fwefwf Wer Wer

5024 words - 21 pages that he has no senses and no body, but does that mean he cannot exist either? He has also noted that the physical world does not exist, which might also seem to imply his nonexistence. And yet to have these doubts, he must exist. For an evil demon to mislead him in all these insidious ways, he must exist in order to be misled. There must be an "I" that can doubt, be deceived, and so on. He formulates the famous cogito argument, saying: "So after

Freedom And Responsibility

2141 words - 9 pages Built within the Constitution of the United States are specifically defined freedoms that are guaranteed to all citizens. Conversely, with every constitutional freedom there comes a corresponding responsibility. On September 25, 1789, the state legislature’s twelve proposed amendments were transmitted by congress, the first two dealing with congressional representation and congressional pay. The following numbers three through twelve were

Hate Crime Laws

2348 words - 10 pages On June 7, 1998, 49-year-old James Byrd Jr. of Texas accepted a ride from three white men, who then beat him severely, urinated on him, chained him by his ankles to the back of their pick-up truck, dragged him for three miles into the countryside, and dumped his corpse in front of an African-American cemetery (Graczyk). A little over a year later, a jury sentenced ring leader John King to death by lethal injection (“Man Executed for Dragging

Rational Emotional Behavior Therapy Case Study Conceptualization And Treatment Plan

2140 words - 9 pages Rational Emotional Behavior Therapy Case Study of Sarah: A Conceptualization and Treatment Plan Rational emotive behavior therapy, REBT, was developed by Albert Ellis and holds the central belief that the events in our lives do not cause our disturbances but that they are instead caused by our view of the events (Murdock, 2009). Murdock (2009) states that “people are seen as responsible for their behavior” (p. 279) but, because they are

Related Essays

Rene Decartes Essay

517 words - 3 pages a reason to doubt a posteriori propositions a. Let S be Descartes b. Let X be Descartes is dreaming c. Let Y be Descartes is sitting by the fire Premises: 1) If Descartes doesn’t know that he’s not dreaming then he doesn’t know he’s sitting by the fire 2) Descartes doesn’t know he’s not dreaming 3) Descartes doesn’t know he’s sitting by the fire 2. The Evil Demon Argument – provides a reason to doubt a priori propositions a. Let S be

Cognito Ergo Sum Essay

1118 words - 5 pages on to believing there is a demon that exists everywhere which tricks everyone that our senses are a complete illusion of our own body, including all bodily sensations. Descartes truly believes this demon exists in the world so he wipes out everything he has ever known about the world to avoid this ‘evil demon’ that he thinks that exists. Descartes denies his entire existence and also the entire worlds’ existence because he thinks we are all

Overview Of Descartes' Doubt And The Three Axioms

1378 words - 6 pages means towards truth. However, there is one more obstacle in front of Descartes in his journey: How will he know anything, if there is the possibility of a demon, a malevolent trickster god, mistaki9ng him at every turn? Well, Descartes denies the existence of this heinous demon by establishing a few key principles that can't be denied. The first, which is today the strongest metaphysical argument, in the concept of self. The self cannot be a lie

Rebuttal Of The Cartesian Circle Essay

1258 words - 6 pages things. For if God was not perfect how would we know what we see before our eyes is actually true and not an illusion or trick played upon up by the evil demon? If God did not exist we would never be able to say with clarity that humans have two hands and that what we see is actual reality. Otherwise we could be in some sort of dream state as utilized in Inception where we do not realize that our world does not exist. Or we could be in some sort of