Descartes Essay

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Matt Driscoll May 2, 2011 Exploring Philosophy Rene Descartes is known to be the father of modern philosophy. He was born in 1596 in La Haye, France and died in 1650 in Stockholm, Sweden. He grew up being taught by Jesuits. He was always on the search for an absolute certainty. He looked for a belief about something that could not be doubted. He wrote about his search in his works the Meditations. Descartes had multiple foundations for his beliefs sense perception, authority, memory, testimony from others, and old wise tales. In Descartes’ Meditation One, he uses the method of doubt where he looks for the absolute certainty in his own beliefs. Descartes uses the sense perception method to challenge his beliefs to come to a conclusion of them being absolutely certain or not. One doubt deals with how distant objects can deceive us from how close or far they really are. A couple of good examples to use are the sun and the planets where they appear to have a certain size, color, and shape. When on the Earth the sun and planets looks smaller than a fist or not even visible with the naked eye, but in reality it they are a whole lot bigger than we are led to believe. Descartes has a doubt about far away objects because we do not have a real certain truth about them. This can make us question sense perception because we think some things may be small, but really they are gigantic. Another doubt of sensory perception has to deal with objects near ourselves like our body, or mind, and if they exist. Descartes challenges this doubt with his dreaming argument. Descartes argues that a person dreams the same objects that they see in reality. When Descartes is not sleeping, he will be at an Inn with a night gown on, a manuscript in his hands and he is aware of his body, and this all has to deal with his sense perception. Then when he is

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