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Philosophy - Essay Example

Since his early age, Descartes had begun to doubt every traditional fact, he had ever known or learned. His doubts even reached his own existence in the world. So, in his Discourse on Method Meditations and Principles, Descartes explains and elaborates the principles of his philosophy that depend on skepticism and uncertainty. Then, he started to rebuild his knowledge, as well as ours, by proving his own existence, and the existence of mind, soul, and God. As noticed by many thinkers, “the Method of Doubt ultimately involves the task of removing all uncertain beliefs, ensuring that only beliefs that are certainly true beliefs remain in one's philosophy” (Bellotti). In order to take us from the state of complete doubt to complete certainty, Descartes made an insightful connection between his method of doubt and his method of inquiry, resorting to the use of the scientific method of thinking, advocated by former thinkers and philosophers. In essence, the scientific method can be considered as a process, in which one corrects himself and his previous knowledge, through continuous examination of truth, for the final aim of finding answers to questions. This examination of truth is what is referred to as doubt and skepticism by Descartes (Bracken). Theoretically, the scientific method of thinking, as practiced by famous thinkers such as Galileo and Francis Bacon, takes two main forms: deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning. Building on the theories of great former thinkers, Descartes found that the deductive method best suited his philosophical principles. To illustrate, the deductive form of the scientific method arrives at a provable true conclusion by reasoning after the application of thoughtful experiments and sound logic. The inductive method, on the other hand, starts with observations, which create a hypothesis to be proved through a confirmation process. This form of the scientific method can be evidenced, for example, in Newton’s law of gravity. He arrived at this law after observing the fall of the apple from the tree. This observation led him to make a hypothesis about a hidden force that let the apple fall, leading him to arrive at the law of gravity. On the contrary, the deductive form of the scientific method does not start with a hypothesis; rather, it looks at the already existent facts and examines them through reasoning to derive conclusion about the accuracy and authenticity of the fact. So, this was exactly what Descartes wanted to implement, regarding his philosophy of doubt. For him, any known fact can be doubted till it is logically proved to be true through reasoning (Roach). Descartes derived this trust in the concept of logic and reasoning from his background as a mathematician. He clearly states this fact, when he says that he was delighted “with mathematics because of the certainty of its demonstrations and the evidence of its reasoning” (Beardsley, p. 9). Making use of his mathematical background, Descartes then tended to apply logic and reasoning to all his future philosophical principles. Implementing the deductive form of the scientific method, Descartes goes on in his meditations to experience an intellectual journey, in which he doubts every single fact in our world. As noted by many observers, “Descartes begins his method of doubt by considering that he has, in the past, been deceived by his senses – things have looked a way that they are not” (Lacewing). As a result, this scientific method ...Show more
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Philosophy 4) The claim is often made that Descartes induced a revolution in philosophy by combining his method of doubt with his method of inquiry. Comment on the philosophical revolution that Descartes engendered. What criticisms, if any, can you bring against his position?…
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