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Surprise Ending: Descartes’ Discourse On The Method (Essay Sample)


Choose one (1) of the three (3) reading selections from the list of topic choices below. The focus is on brief but important primary source material written by major authors. Read the selections as identified with each topic below. Write a three to four (3-4) paragraph essay (250 words minimum) which analyzes the “surprise ending” of the reading selection.

Topic Choices
Reading selection from Descartes' Discourse on the Method (Part IV). Descartes begins with a proof of one basic conclusion and ends with a proof of something much grander. Remember to focus on the surprise and point of realization, not the details of the philosophical argument. Read Part IV of the Discourse on the Method located at http://www(dot)earlymoderntexts(dot)com/assets/pdfs/descartes1637.pdf (then scroll down to Part 4, pp. 14-18). This is only four or five (4 or 5) pages of the larger work.

Reading selection of Swift's A Modest Proposal. It is essential to recognize the genre of this work, as discussed in our class text, which you should consult and cite. Swift promotes a radical solution, but subtle options are mentioned. You are looking for surprise and a point of realization. Read and focus on A Modest Proposal located at http://www(dot)victorianweb(dot)org/previctorian/swift/modest.html.
Two (2) reading selections from Voltaire's Candide. Consider how these readings start and end in terms of the action and the beliefs. You are looking for surprise and a point of realization. These selections can be found on pp. 840-841 in the textbook. In addition, consult the class text at pp. 824-825.

For the reading selection you choose:
Clearly state in your own words the “surprise ending” in the reading you selected. Clearly identify the point in the reading when you realized that there were elements in the reading that surprised you. Not all of the surprises come at the end.
Evaluate how successful the author was in convincing you to accept the validity of the “surprise ending” that was different from what you expected.


Surprise Ending
Student's Name
Institutional Affiliation
Descartes' Discourse on the method
Descartes searches for a principle that would, in turn, act as a foundation argument for his philosophical system. At the beginning, Descartes doubts everything, including her thoughts, but as time goes by, he realizes that he cannot doubt the part of her brain that doubts herself. This comes as a surprise because her initial argument of doubting herself was strong to the extent that the readers did not see the coming of the turn of events. He comes up with a conclusion, showing that he believes in the existence of God.
Descartes breaks from his past beliefs after realizing that he cannot keep on doubting everything that came his way. He also realized that all the philosophical theories of knowledge and truth that were put forward by some of his predecessors were false. As a result, this made him doubt his existence (Drozdek, 2012). Therefore, in an attempt to prove his existence, Descartes chose to abandon anything that is associated with sensory knowledge. He argues that an individual's senses can lie to them and therefore should not be relied on. Human beings are bound to make errors in their thinking, and this makes Descartes think that anything that has ever entered into his mind cannot be judged as the truth but an illusion that is brought about by dreams. The proof of his existence comes in when he realizes that in order for him to doubt everything around him, then he must be something. That "something" is a human being: hence he exists.
A modest proposal by Swift.
Swift uses satire to offer a solution of the manner in which the children of the poor people can cease being burdened to their parents and the community. In his proposal, Swift argued out that the parents can sell their children to the rich people who are capable of taking care of the children. As a result, this brought a few changes such as the case of landlords lowering taxes to

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