Rene Descartes - The Discourse on the Method - Essay Example

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Rene Descartes - The Discourse on the Method

His work Discourse on Method offers several key perspectives on analyzing the world, and it breaks from traditions in a number of ways. The Discourse on Method is not only important as a study of how the early scientific method developed in the Western world, but also it is informative in terms of where Descartes fits within the historical context of Western thought. Based on the applications of Descartes’ new method, one can see the logical consequences of his theories to both the physical and metaphysical sciences. An overview and critical examination of those consequences, including what can be called “Descartes’ history hypothesis,” is given in this paper. Descartes published the Discourse on Method in 1637, four years before his seminal Mediations on First Philosophy in which he establishes the rationalist mode of thinking necessary to produce the cogito ergo sum argument. The arguments in the Discourse are laid out in a way that reflects this later work, particularly in the importance that Descartes ascribes to reasoning as such as a way toward truth. He writes, “For, in fine, whether awake or asleep, we ought never to allow ourselves to be persuaded of the truth of anything unless on the evidence of our Reason” (Descartes, IV, 9). ...Show more

Summary

The objections to a philosophical or scientific conclusion often come about through a dispute about the investigator’s method at arriving at that last thought on some subject. Accordingly, the method we take to arriving at some conclusion is perhaps just as important for the validity of our ideas as the ideas themselves…
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