CRITICISM ON DESCARTES’ FIRST ARGUMENT FOR SKEPTICISM In his First Meditation, Descartes argues that beliefs based on the senses are to be doubted of their factuality, and because all of our beliefs are based on our senses, everything we believe we know is doubtful, therefore, not knowledge. To support this argument, Descartes suggests two premises; the ‘Dream Argument’ and the ‘Evil Demon Argument’. First, the ‘Dream Argument’ states that all we perceive to be reality may be just a dream, and because there is no way of finding out whether we are dreaming or not, everything we know may be false illusions. The concept of a ‘dream’ can also be understood as an ‘illusion’, or the ‘result of our imaginations’. In this sense, the statement, at first glance may seem true, because although illusions and imaginations conjure up the most bizarre and impossible things which obviously cannot not exist in the so-called ‘reality’, we conceive them to be real while we are dreaming.
As intellectual beings we seek to know the reality of how things appear to be versus how they really are. Historically the question, “what is real?” has been the subject of much philosophical conjecture. In comparing the synopsis from the movie The Matrix, Plato’s The Republic (The Allegory of the Cave), and Descartes, Meditation 1, I find both similarities and differences. While all three deal with the concept of false realities, both the Matrix and The Allegory of the Cave explore more the concept of two worlds, one world that has been created (an illusion) by outside sources, and the real word which is eventually revealed thus destroying the reality of those involved. While in contrast, in Meditation 1 Descartes takes a more introspective approach by analyzing reality with systematic doubt.
He believes in what he sees and feels while dreaming, but can not trust his senses to tell him that he is not still dreaming. His senses can not show him proof that the world exists. Descartes concludes that he can not base judgement on his senses, and for what he knows, himself and the rest of the world might be under the control of an evil demon. Rene Descartes’ evil demon is perceptibly shown in the Matrix as the unreal intelligence that forces a virtual reality on humans. Just as Descartes realized that the perceptions in his dreams were strong enough to convince him the dreams were real, the humans who are plugged into the Matrix have no idea that their reality of sence is false, created artificially instead of coming from actual experiences.
The Spanish philosopher Miguel De Unamuno said “The skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches, as opposed to him who asserts and thinks that he has found.” On this basis it could be said that the skepticism is the deepest of all the philosophical areas of study as no true conclusion can be drawn fully meaning it will be explored more with time. The first argument in support of skepticism is the brain in a vat scenario. This entails that I imagine myself now sitting at a laptop writing this essay as the truth, yet in fact my only existence is that I am a brain in a vat being probed with electrodes that are making my consciousness imagine the scenario I have described. This is known as the envatment problem and is often associated with solipsism which is the view that only oneself exists, which according to Audi ”serves as a limiting case to be avoided.” It is essentially a modern retelling of Descartes’ ‘being possessed by a malignant demon’ concept as told in Meditations on first philosophy. The envatment problem is impossible to prove as nobody can know they are a brain in a vat similar to how when a person is
The dream argument was a method by which he could doubt the existence of the world around him (the 'external world'), on the grounds that he might be dreaming. The dream argument claims that we have no way of determining definitively at any time whether or not we are dreaming. Hence, it is possible at any given time that we are dreaming. Descartes thinks that this possibility is enough to damage knowledge. It is not possible to know if we're not dreaming because even in dreams we are so sure that the dream is the reality and then, only when we wake up we realise it was only a dream.
For this reason, people who agree with Calvin in believing in predestination often find it difficult to understand why miracles aren’t common occurrences. However, as Swinburne suggests, if miracles were a frequent occurrence, people would live in confusion, not knowing whether to trust that laws such as gravity would remain constant. Swinburne also observes that if God were to interact frequently, humans would become expectant and perhaps take less active roles in society and would, for example, be less likely to find the cure for cancer. Another possible reason for miracles appearing to be sparse and selective is hinted at in Irenaean theodicy, which suggests that people suffer on earth and in life in
Skepticism makes a person questions ideas toward multiple things such as knowledge or opinions that are stated as if it is true like facts. Rene Descartes argument for skepticism is to not believe every doubt that you give yourself. In his words "withstand all doubt because the evidence of our senses sometimes misleads us, it does not provide a secure basis for knowledge. We cannot be certain that we are awake and not dreaming." His argument can be argued because people have senses that can guide them to doubt themselves by the way people talk to them or other people actions.
When conducted honestly and thoroughly, the scientific method can and has provided valuable information about the world and the world’s people (Jackson, 2009). Though some people rely on other methods for gaining knowledge, scientists only accept knowledge gained through science to arrive at plausible truths (Jackson, 2009). Due in part to human error and the tendency of human nature to succumb to temptations to bias research, the results of the scientific method should be viewed with skepticism (Garzon, n.d.). The scientific method of seeking knowledge and finding truth must stay within the limits of scientific ability and allow for human fragility in order to be effective (Slick, 2012). References Garzon, F. (n.d.).
He came up with the idea that religious experiences are nothing but wishful thinking that cause the illusion of the oldest and most profound idea one has. He would use Nicky Cruz as a contemporary example here and say his conversion was due to his tough childhood; however this is a mere speculation. Freud did not present any evidence Another idea of what Freud believed is that as humans we are completely material, he denied the
There have been efforts made by philosophers to reconcile the thoughts on determinism and voluntarism. Psychology being a science of human behavior does not have scientific laws to prove the presence of fate/destiny or choice. But that does not mean that the controversy ends, but it widens, since, some of the behavior is unpredictable and some behavior is voluntary. Therefore, a mid-way approach to the free will and determinism can prove to end the debate and solve the issue. For example, the illness, stress, and happiness are not choices, but they just really ‘happen’, whereas, the free will lets us achieve our goals and targets for a better life as a