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Rene Descarte's Faulty Reliance
Pages 5 (1255 words)
Rene Descarte's Faulty Reliance on God as a Ground for the Human Sciences Rene Descartes, laboring to explain the nature of epistemology – and hence provide a foundation for the sciences – ultimately grounds science in the belief that there exists some almighty, transcendent force, known to him (thanks to his Roman Catholic upbringing) as God.
To rehearse his argument in short: Descartes believes that we cannot at first glance trust our senses, as it is possible that we are being deceived. Those elements of the world outside our own mind (the res extensa) are available for our thought and our perception (res cogitans) but we cannot trust that the reality of what we think we see is in fact what comprises the world around us. We should doubt, radically, such a belief, because for Descartes this gap between the world around us and our knowledge of the world helps to explain why there exists to many different beliefs about the fundamental nature of our existence. Instead, Descartes suggests, we should be satisfied with the knowledge only that we can think, that we can consider, that thing that we call knowledge, and that material we think of as the world. Hence the famous notion of the Cogito, which in somewhat condensed form, suggests that “I think, therefore I am.” The claim here is not that of a logical operation (thinking begets the awareness of existence) but rather that thinking constitutes the one demonstration of existence that our imperfect cognition makes allows. ...
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