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Modern philosphy - Essay Example

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Essentially, Descartes was seen as deigning to question the dependability of science based on empiricism since scientific investigation can only be inference from by means of sensory examination. To prove his point, Descartes underwent what is commonly referred to as an intellectual rebirth and to achieve this he had to deconstruct everything he had learnt from birth since he had leant it through his senses and he wanted to prove that they could deceive. To this end, he postulated a few arguments among them the dream theory, suggested that when one dreams of say a fire, they feel warm and experience the selfsame experience they do when they are actually basking in a fire. The same argument can be extended to cover other sensation that people perceive even the absence of stimulating agents or situations. For example, one can dream they are falling and they will wake up with a sense of terror and probably break in to a sweat with fear exactly as they would have if they had actually being falling. Similarly, he makes an argument about whether God actually exists or whether a deceiving demon or evil genius manipulates humans. He argues, can one know that they have no body but they simply exist in the form of a mind in which information is fed and the physical sensations are actually imagined. This concept has been demonstrated in several works of art more so films such as “inception” where the plot involves a situation in which the characters are able to move and manipulate events in the lives of others by accessing their brain while they dreamt. In the wax example, Descartes further demonstrates the unreliability of the senses by claiming that a piece of wax in its solid form will look, feel and smell very differently from itself if it were melted. Therefore, someone not familiar with wax may see two entirely different things by looking at wax in its different forms although essentially they are the same thing. At the end of the day, Descartes wishes to invite his audience to abandon their blind, (so to speak) reliance of scientific enquiry and investigate everything from a rational point of view. In the famous cogito argument , he claims I am therefore I exist, to prove this he chooses to doubt everything including his own existence which is after all only aware of by means of sensory powers (Kaufman 12). When he figuratively scraps of all his knowledge, he remains with the only bit that is not based on empiricisms, and the fact that he doubts everything means that not everything might actually exist. Nevertheless, that he is capable of doubting is proof of the existence of his doubt and this translates into this existence since he must be existing to doubt. This argument while seeming farfetched and illogical to the non-critical eyes actually bears a point that almost everyone including his greatest critics would agree. An individual cannot know much about something else than about himself because as proved by Descartes, one does not need to apply sensory powers to prove their own sense of being (De Marzio 312). Therefore, the most qualified way of understanding one’s self is the one that does not use empirical reasoning, why them, Descartes seems to ...Show more


Instructor Date From antiquity to contemporary times, Rene Descartes has been popularly considered as the father of modern philosophy; among other things, the French philosopher was the pre-eminent figure in the development of rationalism. This school of thought stressed on the use of reason as the true means through which knowledge can be attained, rationalism became one of the dominant knowledge theories along with empiricism and it served as a major pillar for the enlightenment movement in Europe…
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Modern philosphy essay example
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