In His First Meditation Descartes Offers a Number of Considerations in Favour of the Conclusion That All of His Former Beliefs Are Subject to Doubt. Outline and Critically Evaluate ‘the Dreaming Argument’ That Descartes

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In his First Meditation Descartes offers a number of considerations in favour of the conclusion that all of his former beliefs are subject to doubt. Outline and critically evaluate ‘The Dreaming Argument’ that Descartes offers for this conclusion. Descartes started to doubt his beliefs when he came to the conclusion that his senses at several points throughout his life have deceived him. For example when you see a stick in water it appears to be bent but when you pull the stick out of the water it is in actual fact completely straight. In consideration of this he came to the conclusion he could no longer trust his senses such as sight, hear, sense, touch and smell. Due to this conclusion he produced the dreaming argument. ‘I see plainly that there are never any sure signs by means of which being awake can be distinguished from being asleep.’ In Descartes first meditation he reflects that whilst he is asleep and dreaming there are absolutely no signs presented to him that verify he is dreaming. He therefore came to the deduction that he could not distinguish between dreams and reality thus conjuring the following argument to back up his thoughts: 1. If I am certain that I am sitting by the fire, then I must be certain that I’m not dreaming. 2. I cannot be certain that I’m not dreaming. 3. I cannot be certain that I am sitting by the fire. The premises of this argument appear to be valid. The first premise is acceptable because for yourself to be placed in an environment you need to be certain you are not in fact dreaming. Since in dreams you can visualise real life places in which you have previously experienced it is perfectly possible that you could in fact dream you are sitting by the fire when you are tucked up in bed. It is however, equally as possible that you could be sitting by the fire. The second premise is also acceptable; dreams can be

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