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Pholosophy Questions - Essay Example

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The rest of the personality is developed by the society. In order to be flexible, individuals must doubt their views and beliefs. This doubt holds critical importance in the journey to discover the truth. It may lead an individual into impasses and dilemmas initially but eventually doubt leads to a point that does not leave any more room for doubt. This elimination of doubt creates a sense of irrefutable authenticity in the beliefs and views of an individual. The degree of doubt presented by Descartes’ first meditations is astounding. Descartes takes the measure of doubt to a whole new level which even involves doubting one’s innate senses. He presents arguments and situations that clarify the need for such doubts. This also questions the existence of oneself, which he mentions as ‘I’ (Williams, Descartes & Cottingham, 1996). The diversity of opinions in the world has created so much room for error. If everyone firmly believes that his/her views are qualified, then who is right and who is wrong. Surely there has to be one path towards the truth; therefore doubting all of the opinions including one’s own is necessary to filter out the real truth. The fact that Descartes takes the degree of doubt to another level stems from his idea to even doubt one’s basic senses of perception upon which all knowledge is based. The idea that senses of perception can deceive an individual does not cross logic since they have deceived people in the past. Our senses have deceived us in matters of observation of minute and distant objects. This is a reasonable claim to support the argument of doubting our senses. However, Descartes cannot reject the authentic of a certain set of basic knowledge such geometry and arithmetic. The first argument presented by Descartes in favor of doubting one’s senses relates to dreams. Dreams feel real until we are woken up from them so who is to decide if the present situation is not a dream but in fact reality. Being asleep and awake are two different things so it is possible that one of these states is actually the reality but what if both these states are actually a part of an unrealized dream. If the present is not a reality but actually a dream then the mind and body do not exist in reality; they are mere illusions. This is the argument upon which Descartes doubts the authenticity of his senses; However, Rene further presents another side of the picture by drawing an analogy from a painting. Whatever a painter paints on the canvas comes from what he/she observes around him. Even if the painter paints something completely out of this world, he/she still uses the colors that are around him thereby testifying the existence of these colors and objects in the painting. Similarly dreams can be imagined as our canvas and whatever we see in them is a reflection of the things that we observe while we are awake. No matter how irrational the dreams may be, they are still influenced by the reality as we perceive it. So what we see in dreams must actually exist, however, the dreams may not be entirely based on the reality but perhaps carry only the nuance of reality. This argument basically means that dreams do not testify the existence of the body and all its senses, in fact it testifies to the existence of basic knowledge such as geometry and arithmetic, which cannot be doubted. All other knowledge such as physics and astronomy are based on them. The concepts presented in these ...Show more


Q: Is Descartes' argument against trusting the senses a good one? What appeals to you most and what do you find odd? Society plays a vital role in the development of the identity and opinions of a person. There are a lot of beliefs and ideas that an individual rejects as he/she learns more about the subject that relates to that idea or belief…
Author : doyle10
Pholosophy Questions essay example
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