Rene Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosoph (Essay Sample)
Descartes tells us that, in order to see what is real, we must first doubt all we know with our senses. Our senses can deceive us. Are we dreaming? Are we being manipulated by an evil genius? Are we living in The Matrix where we are waiting for Keanu Reaves to rescue us? (I suppose that would be the most disturbing option!)
In this case, we want to get at this notion of doubt. We will be reading from Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy.
It is recommended that students read the first six meditations of Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy.
Is Descartes' argument against trusting the senses a good one? What appeals to you most, and what do you find odd?
The world is characteristic of a wide range of knowledge and information on equally distinct topics or fields of study across the social, political, economic, and cultural aspects of society. The continuous development of the universe brings with it new developments and further creating new information or rather increasing human knowledge across the outlined factors. Thus, human beings face an infinite task of gaining, deciphering, and discerning various concepts in life that remain pertinent to their lives. The interpretation and internalization of such concepts, based on either knowledge or information gained in life, is a precept of certain features and natural abilities of human beings. It is through these human traits and abilities that a person creates or develops their perceptions on various matters and issues in societies across the world. The ability to see, taste, hear, touch, and smell, play a significant role in determining the diverse perceptions held by different people around the globe. However, the process of authenticating such perceptions or removing uncertainties over what one holds and believes to be true can be a challenging task. Rene Descartes, for instance, questions everything he knows about various aspects of the world in an effort to remove all the uncertainties he has over common human perceptions on the same. Rene Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy breaks down the philosopher’s thought process through which he seeks to find out the truth beyond reasonable doubt on the outlined aspects. The renowned French philosopher discredits the knowledge gained through human senses and questions human perceptions on material things, God, truth, human existence, as well as the correlation between the body and soul of human beings.
Among the arguments presented by Descartes include the argument that reality or the truth can only be established by disregarding all that a person’s holds to be true based on their senses. Descartes purports that human senses can be easily manipulated by spiritual forces such as God or demonic forces and as such should not be trusted for developing individual perceptions on various aspects of life CITATION Des \l 1033 (Descartes). The philosopher goes ahead to highlight five more meditations through which he argues his case for disregarding human senses and all the information gained through them as he seeks to get rid of all the uncertainty existing in people’s perception of the world. The fact that the human sense of sight can appear deceitful to the perception of reality on aspects such as size and shape comes out as Descartes’ primary argument for his scepticism over his knowledge, opinions, and perceptions, which he believes to have gained through the five senses CITATION Des \l 1033 (Descartes). Descartes develops the other meditations based on his doubts over human senses and their ability to form credible perceptions on matters such as the existence of God, truth, and the relationship between the
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