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Ren Descartes and the contemporary philosophy (Essay Sample)

The following is a quote from Bertrand Russell, an important 20th C philosopher. He is discussing the nature of philosophy. The man who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned to the prejudices derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs of his age or his nation...To such a man the world tends to become definite, finite, obvious; common objects rouse no questions and unfamiliar possibilities are contemptuously rejected. As soon as we begin to philosophize, on the other hand, we find...that even the most everyday things lead to problems to which only very incomplete answers can be given. Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubt which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom. Thus, while diminishing our feeling of certainty as to what things are, it greatly increases our knowledge as to what they may be; it removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have never travelled into the region of liberating doubt and it keeps alive our sense of wonder by showing familiar things in an unfamiliar aspect. So, think about what Russell has to say about philosophy and think about Descartes' philosophy. Is Descartes's philosophy exemplary of philosophy as described by Russell? Why or why not? Answering this why will generate your paper. Obviously, there are many , many things one might say. You will need to consider an assortment of reasons, why or why not, and then select one or two that you think make the best case for your claim. These need to be specific reasons that allow you to show that you understand text, understand method, understand Descartes' project. source..

Ren Descartes and the contemporary philosophy
Ren Descartes and the contemporary philosophy
Rene Descartes is regarded as one of the most inspiring western philosophers. In his lifetime, he was regarded as a very bright mathematician, original physicist and a physiologist. However his most remarkable ideas to which he is remembered to date are philosophy centuries (Hacker, 1999). Descartes tried to regenerate philosophy in different manner, while refuting the ideas of the Aristotelian and Scholastic traditions (Rene, 2005). The latter were widely famous in the medieval period. His most widely accepted philosophical ideas include the hyperbolic doubt method and argument where he argued that, although he doubts many things and questions their existence and reason for existence he cannot doubt that he exists (Dennis, 1996).
Thus, the only thing Descartes believed was that he existed, and he never accepted the authority of other thinkers that preceded him neither the generalizations made from his own sense (Rene, 2005). Russell notes that if a man was to be regarded as philosophical, he must endeavor to redeem himself from the imprisonment derived from the belief of common sense, including the beliefs of his own age and nation (Dennis, 1996). He must question the truth in them and their application and relevance to life. Thus Descartes was guided by the idea that, in the search of the real foundation for philosophy, if anything could be doubted, it then must be rejected and studied further.
Descartes philosophy focused on fully integrating philosophy with the merging sciences, and he attempted to change the relationship between philosophy and theology. The emerging trends in his work made him very popular (Hacker, 1999). As Russell argues, a man who had no desire or the slightest glimpse of philosophy accepts every explanation offered without further questioning (Rene, 2005). However, if such a man philosophizes, the most obvious things in life become problematic and questions are generated from the most unthinkable aspects (Rene, 2005). Descartes was complete description of the latter, with his undoubtedly questioning of every aspect, most renowned for his Cogito, ergo sum, that translates to "I think, therefore I am."
He only chose to trust what is accepted beyond any iota of doubt, and is clearly seen (Rene, 2005).
However, the striking difference between them and Descartes was that, he made mathematics the foundation of all sciences. He doubted all things that were earlier recorded and destined to find the truth himself. With such a view, Descartes seemed to do away with the layers of any doubt and other opinions that could have obscured his search for the truth (Dennis, 1996). He continually criticized all traditional methods that were advanced by earlier philosophers, a characteristic identified with other philosophers of the time such as Francis Bacon and Galileo (Rene, 2005)....
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