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Descartes Meditations - Essay Example

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Descartes Meditations

He expresses his disdain about the knowledge acquired through the senses because the senses are deceptive. He compares the state of wakefulness and dream and finds no distinguishing features; they are alike and one cannot tell either from the other. He does this to find what is real. Having thought that all things could be imaginary, he assumes everything is imaginary. From this, he observes that even in dreams the objects have resemblance to real objects. Thus, he concludes that there must be some objects that are unquestionably real. In this class of real objects, he places figures, quantities or magnitudes, number and time. On these findings, he finds that only geometry and arithmetic constitute true knowledge which is irrefutable. Descartes examined the existence of God. He argued that if he exists, then he allows people to be deceived. He then disqualifies this pointing to the fact he is all good. In assuming there is no God, he concludes that the being responsible for human being’s existence would be even more imperfect. Leaving this assumption, he devices the deceiving devil. In the second meditation, he observes that the only truth that remains even if there is a devil that deceives is the fact that he exists. Because even if he experiences deception in the existence of all things, it shows he exists; albeit as a thinking being. He observes that though wax changed in form when heated it still remained as wax through this analogy, he came up with other real things. The idea of a substance and identity is also true. In the third meditation, Descartes seeks to examine the existence of God. He wants to expand on his limited list of true knowledge. He argues that one idea cannot be truer than the other and cannot be considered false if it does not refer to an object. Because the existence of God is no bases on any assumptions, (it is an idea) then there is no base to evaluate its falsehood. Since his idea of God extended beyond the finite, it could not have originated from himself as a finite being. Therefore, because he had an idea of God, then God exists. In the fourth meditation, he explains the chances of his erring in reasoning. Having recognized that a perfect God created him, Descartes seeks to know how he commits errors. He recognizes error as a defect and not a trait given by God. This error occurs because the power to differentiate between good and bad given by God to humans is finite, just as a person is finite. His knowledge and power to choose deceives him into error. In meditation five, Descartes finds another way of demonstrating the existence of God2. He observes that the things for which he has clear thoughts about, whether they exist out of his mind or not, they are true. The characteristics assigned to these ideas remain true. Then it follows that, in his clear thought, he has an idea of God with certain characteristics, then existence of God is true. In meditation six, he evaluates the existence of tangible objects and the difference between the soul and body. First he differentiates between thought and intellect. He uses the example of a triangle and notes that he can easily conceive of a three sided figure as well as thousand sided polygons. The difference was when he tried to form a mental image of the two figures; the triangle formed easily while the thousand-sided polygon did not. That which requires more effort to visualize is from imagination and that which is easy to visualize is f ...Show more


Name: Instructor: Task: Date: The meditations of Descartes In the first meditation, Descartes engages in the work of critically evaluating what he had previously acknowledged to be true1. He accepts that, in his youth, he took false opinions to be true and consequently the principles built on those beliefs were highly doubtful…
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