This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Descartes Meditation On First Philosophy

1257 words - 6 pages

How Descartes Use Methodological Skepticism to Articulate a Foundationalist Conception of Knowledge

Descartes is the first modern philosopher who rejects Aristotelianism and starts foundationalism, which is of great controversy but extreme importance in modern philosophy. In Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes utilizes methodological skepticism to present the foundationalist conception of knowledge, in which a belief can only be considered knowledge when it is based on basic principles, or principles that are justified without appealing to any external ideas or facts. Under the methodological skepticism, a person can test a belief by asking the question “Could it be false?” If the ...view middle of the document...

These dreams are like paintings; they are made of real things that are taken from reality, therefore, they can deceive people to think that they are real, and should not be trusted. In contrast to senses and dreams, the cogito “I think, I exist” is self-evident because as long as it is perceived clearly and distinctly, people cannot help but agree that this cogito is true. Moreover, beliefs that are based on basic principles that are true, infallible and formed beyond doubt, like arithmetic or geometry, are “certain and indubitable” and therefore should also be trusted and be the foundation of knowledge. Therefore, basic principles are more stable, more valuable and more trust-worthy than non-basic ones.
Methodological skepticism is the perfect tool for presenting foundationalist conception of knowledge. By using methodological skepticism, a person can test belief to see if they are basic principles or not by asking him or herself: “Is the belief possibly false?” If the answer for the question is “Yes,” the beliefs are not necessarily true; therefore, it is not basic principles. If the answer for the question is “No,” the beliefs are then indubitable and infallible, and are basic principles. Only beliefs based on these basic principles are self-evident and should be the foundations of knowledge. There are three applications of the methodological skepticism. First, the ordinary or normal doubt about senses can be recognized: senses can deceive people in perceiving distant or small objects. Second, the dream doubt can also be distinguished: except for shapes and number, images in dreams do not correspond to the external world; if they do, they are not from our perception but through our judgments. For example, we can recognize a piece of wax that is hard, cold, easy to touch with a honey flavor when its scent is vanished, its color is changed, is liquid and hot. Evidently, our sense about the piece of wax is different, but we can still recognize it through our judgments. These are the two direct doubts results from sense perceptions. Finally comes the omnipotent being doubt, or the indirect doubt, in which people can be deceived even about basic principles as there can be an omnipotent God deceiving people, making people’s mind lose certainty about the basic Mathematics.
A proof a God’s existence and He is not a deceiver is presented by Descartes to reject all doubts about simple Mathematics in the third application of methodological skepticism. Ideas, which are thoughts that represent things, are analyzed in order to clarify the origin of the idea of God. There are three types of ideas based on their origin: innate ideas that originate from within, or prior, fictitious ideas that come with people’s will and are made by...

Other Papers Like Descartes - Meditation On First Philosophy

Critically Discuss One of the Arguments Used by Descartes to Demonstrate the Existence of God

2215 words - 9 pages he can even doubt) when he just “apprehends” it? Following Descartes approach to existence in the First Meditation I claim that in order to express the truth about the existence of something you need to understand it with certainty, a rule that he should have applied for the existence of God. In Addition it was not merely certainty that Descartes was after but he sought to establish the truth. The certainty he gets from perceiving

Descartes' Method Of Doubt Essay

2644 words - 11 pages Descartes' Method of Doubt In this essay I will assess Descartes's employment of his Method of Doubt, as presented in his Meditations on the First Philosophy [Descartes 1641]. I will argue that by implicitly accepting a causal model of perception, Descartes did not apply the Method of Doubt as fully as he could have. The Method of Doubt Descartes's principal task in the Meditations was to devise a system that would bring him to the

Descartes' Meditations

2176 words - 9 pages Descartes' Meditations In Descartes’ meditations, Descartes begins what Bernard Williams has called the project of ‘pure enquiry’ to discover an indubitable premise or foundation to base his knowledge on, by subjecting everything to a kind of scepticism now known as Cartesian doubt. This is known as foundationalism, where a philosopher basis all epistemological knowledge on an indubitable premise. Within meditation one Descartes


994 words - 4 pages The Matrix, Plato, and Descartes Whether one elects for the “red pill of truth”, or the “blue pill of deception”, the battle for the human mind is being waged. Similarities between the motion picture, The Matrix, “The Allegory of the Cave” from Plato, the Republic, Book VII, 514A1-518D8, and Meditation 1 of The Things of Which We May Doubt, from Rene’s Descartes, Meditations on the First Philosophy 1641, include the existence of the opposing

The Truth Of Proust And Descartes

828 words - 4 pages Love, and Place-Names: The Name, all of which are mentioned in the essays. Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy questions and defines knowledge and existence. Descartes too, uses a first-person voice, whom we called "the Meditator." It is the Meditator who goes through the method of progressive doubt and re-founds all knowledge on the basis of "the cogito": Thus, after everything has been most carefully weighed, it must finally

Objection to Descartes' View on Senses

1074 words - 5 pages Objection to Descartes’ View on Senses In René Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy he comes to the conclusion in his sixth meditation “On the Existence of Material Objects and the Real Distinction of Mind and Body” that our senses and their operations ought to be mistrusted, and that our own mind - our intellect - is more reliable than any perceived senses. I will investigate the validity of Descartes’ sixth meditation with respect to

Describing A System Of Knowledge

1507 words - 7 pages experiences are ruled out as possibilities for ideas that can be allowed into the system for irrefutable knowledge. Removing these notions from the selective pool of possible foundations leaves very little left for consideration and leads to the proposal of the first candidate within the new system. An idea that Descartes believes can escape the criticism on skeptics is the notion that he exists for as long as he is thinking (Descartes 355). By this he

Descartes: Evil Demon

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

Overview of Descartes' doubt and the three Axioms

1378 words - 6 pages Renee Descartes is possibly one of the most renowned philosophers in history, earning a name second only to perhaps Aristotles. This name, however, is whispered as both a blessing and a curse depending on the man. This, odd duality comes from the fact that, in a certain way, Descartes managed to both introduce his famous Cartesian doubt, an utter display of skepticism, and then partially deny it. You see, Renee, may be most known for his


1784 words - 8 pages . Prominent rationalists, including Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz, argue that one must rely on reason as a purely deductive process to attain justified truths about reality (Cottingham 1988). In contrast, empiricists, including Locke, Berkeley and Hume, argue that knowledge is derived from the role of experience and sense data to formulate ideas. The question of what is the ideal foundation of knowledge is still debatable to date. I will argue that the

Matrix V Allegory of the Cave

745 words - 3 pages , 514AI-518D8 ). Descartes, “suppose we are dreaming, that all these particulars namely, the opening of the eyes, the motion of the head, the putting fourth of the hands or merely illusion” (Descartes, Meditation on First Philosophy, 1641). The Matrix, complain that computer system has taken over the entire human race and control their minds and keep their brain connected via cable” Synopsis, The Matrix, 1999). The two with the most differences

Related Essays

The Logical Fallacies Of Descartes’ Meditations On First Philosophy

2361 words - 10 pages The Logical Fallacies of Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy includes a proof for the existence of material objects, such as trees. Descartes accomplishes this by first doubting all things, from which he learns that he can be certain of nothing but his own existence as a thinking thing. From this established certainty, Descartes is able to provide proof for the existence of God, and

Tyler Junior College Philosophy Presentation Essay

1833 words - 8 pages their theories are with a lot of hypothesis. That is why Descartes was mad at them and stated this second meditation. Rene Descartes is known as “The father of modern philosophy”, and published “Discourse on the Method.” Before Descartes invented his philosophy, in Europe, Scholasticism was prevalent. It says, “God lights up the truth, and people who don’t know cannot get the truth” ( ). He denied this idea and indicated that, with reason, we

Dualism Essay

1584 words - 7 pages . Descartes, R. (1980). Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy. In D. A. Trans, Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy (p. 94). Indiapolis: Hackett Publishing Co. Descartes, R. (1637). Discourse on the Method. Descartes, R. (1639). Meditations. Meditation VI . Pfalz, E. v. (2000). Other Womens Voices, Translations of Women's Writings. In C. T. Ebenreck, Other Womens Voices (pp. 93-94). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Tollesfen, D. (1999). Hypatia. In D. Tollesfen, Hypatia Vol 14, No. 3 (pp. 59-77). Hypatia Inc. Tollesfen, D. (1999). Hypatia. In E. o. Bohemia, Hypatia Vol. 14, No. 3 (pp. 59-77). Hypatia Inc.

Skepticism Essay

566 words - 3 pages on First Philosophy by forcing himself to believe that everything he knew to be true, such as his morals and beliefs. While an obscure thought, he attempted to create a unique set of beliefs that were entirely true, and explained such in Meditation 1 when he said, “Several years have now elapsed since I first became aware that I had accepted, even from my youth, many false opinions for true, and that consequently what I afterward based on such