Descartes Essay

1388 WordsFeb 23, 20096 Pages
What is the role of skepticism in the fisrt two "meditations?" What are the different stages of methodological doubt? Next, describe how Descartes manages to "doubt his way to certanity." Do you think he overcomes the problem of skepticism in the "cogito" argument? Explain why you think his argument succeeds or fails. In the Meditations, Descartes embarks upon what Bernard Williams has called the project of 'Pure Enquiry' to discover certain, indubitable foundations for knowledge. By subjecting everything to doubt Descartes hoped to discover whatever was immune to it. In order to best understand how and why Descartes builds his epistemological system up from his foundations in the way that he does, it is helpful to gain an understanding of the intellectual background of the 17th century that provided the motivation for his work. Descartes overall objective in the Meditations is to question knowledge. To explore such metaphysical issues as the existence of God and the separation of mind and body, it was important for him to distinguish what we can know as truth. He believed that reason as opposed to experience was the source for discovering what is of absolute certainty. In my explication, I will examine the first two meditations and discover if he overcomes the problem of scepticism in the "cogito" argument Meditation one the first meditation acts as a foundation for all those that follow. Here Descartes discerns between mere opinion and strict absolute certainty. To make this consideration he establishes that he must first “attack those principles which supported everything I once believed.” He first examines those beliefs that require our senses. He questions, whether our senses are true indicators of what they represent. By inspecting our sometimes firm belief in the reality of dreams, he comes to the conclusion that our senses are prone to error and

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