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Descarte's and Hume's answer to Russell's question - Essay Example

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Descarte's and Hume's answer to Russell's question

His obsession in geometry, made him believe in certainty because geometry always gave a certain answer and not imaginations (Hattab 2007, p.51) He invented certainty basing on his logical doubtful whereby he doubted the existence of everything around him. He never imagined that something existed instead he had to be sure of the existence of that element by questioning. As the inventor of certainty, Descartes questioned the origin of his background and if really, God existed. Hume, on the other hand, is in total opposition of what Descartes thinks. He objects Descartes ideas and views certainty, instead he proposes uncertainty since according to him, all that is defined and perceived are just but ideas and impressions and not the real thing, he does cynical thinking about reality. In other words, Hume distinguishes between the relationship of ideas and facts (Waldow 2009, p.19). Therefore, unlike Descartes, Hume’s criticism on doubt and knowledge are based on how to tackle uncertainty and this drove him towards the principles of acceptance and tolerance. Descartes as the founder of doubt advocates that human beings should not accept anything they are not sure of, for example, he critics the discoveries of Copernicus, which undermined the earlier traditions, by questioning the views, sources and origin of the modern culture. His critics are considered the major turning point towards the western philosophy. His thinking and ideas on certainty are opposed and condemned by other philosophers. They argue that Descartes’ arguments are based on the ideas he is sure of (Loeb 2010, p.14). They say that people can make mistakes thinking that something is right but without their knowledge they have made a mistake. According to Descartes, this where doubt is applied because many people jump into conclusion without distinguishing what is certain and what seems to be certain. Certainty, according to Descartes therefore, is not just a feeling, but a deeper feeling that one has no doubt upon. He disagrees with other philosophers by saying that distinctiveness and clarity are the main principles of certainty, and should be obvious in the mind. Hence, certainty according to Descartes is tested by reason and can never be otherwise. He believes that certainty establishes truth meaning anything that means otherwise is never true. Because of his philosophical approach towards knowledge, Descartes is described as the founder of knowledge. Descartes’ main objective in his philosophical work was to establish new ideas in people’s mind and he succeeded because most modern philosophers support his enlightenment and rationalism. There is a big contraction in Descartes’ philosophical work. On one hand, he doubts the existences of everything around him, on the other hand, he is depicts himself as a normal child like any other child in the society living under the same traditional conditions. His contradiction is clearly seen when he critics every element about his philosophical background, in contrary, he lives in the same society he critics about. Likewise, in Descartes’ doubts in the existence of God, he accepts his existence in order to overcome the many questions about the origin of human race and ideas. This means that Descartes could never live without certainty giving him a certain response to philosophy. Hume’s criticism, doubt and knowledge on how to tackle uncertainty, drove him towards acceptance and tolerance (Clark 2009, ...Show more


Descarte's and Hume's answer to Russell's question on Certainity Professor University/Institution Location January 20th 2013 Hume and Descartes are philosophers with diverse philosophical backgrounds but similar in criticism and skepticism…
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Descartes and Humes answer to Russells question
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