StudentShare solutions
Triangle menu

On Discourse on Method - Essay Example

Nobody downloaded yet
In Part 2 of his book Discourse on Method, he elaborated both his traditional and modern attitude towards education. He explained that since mathematics has achieved the certainty for which human thinkers seek, the traditional persons should rightly turn to mathematical reasoning as a model for progress in human knowledge. Expressing perfect confidence in the capacity of human reason to achieve knowledge, Descartes proposed an intellectual process that suggested the architectural destruction and rebuilding of an entire town. In Part 2, he writes:
It is true, however, that it is not customary to pull down all the houses of a town with the single design of rebuilding them differently, and thereby rendering the streets more handsome; but it often happens that a private individual takes down his own with the view of erecting it anew, and that people are even sometimes constrained to this when their houses are in danger of falling from age, or when the foundations are insecure.
What is true of buildings and constitutions is also true for knowledge. The fact that the existing sciences have often grown up gradually with no uniform plan explains this as a key role of processing the "unlearning" of what we have previously learned. Descartes used that as an example to explain that in order to be absolutely sure that we accept only what is genuinely certain, we must first deliberately renounce all of the firmly held but questionable traditional beliefs we have previously acquired by experience and education. However, he later warns about the consequences of the reconstruction, such that:
For although I recognized various difficulties in this undertaking, these were not, however, without remedy, nor once to be compared with such as attend the slightest reformation in public affairs. Large bodies, if once overthrown, are with great difficulty set up again, or even kept erect when once seriously shaken, and the fall of such is always disastrous (Discourse, Part 2).
Furthermore, he explained that if there are any imperfections in the constitutions of states, tradition has materially leveled their problems and will manage to steer clear of the defects. Thus, in this part, Descartes denies that his plan to undertake the reform of knowledge has a revolutionary design. He believed that it would be unwise to undertake the reform of a state or education by undertaking it from the ground up. However, regarding his own opinions and beliefs, it would be preferable "to get rid of them, all at one go, in order to replace them afterward with better ones."
Hence, Descartes finds himself caught in the middle between two types of people. There are those on whom "God has bestowed more of his favors" and will no doubt see his plans for self-improvement as too cautious. Then, there are others who are content to follow existing opinion and practice as the only reliable guide. Descartes advised that he would have included himself in this second class, if he had not come upon a discovery that there is no opinion or custom so strange that it has not been held or practiced by someone somewhere. He mentions that his travels merely confirmed to him that custom is variable and that we hold the opinions we do purely as a matter of chance.

2. The Middle Ages was characterized by two intellectual crises that profoundly affected Western civilization. First, the decline of the traditional Aristotelian thought that eventually questioned the methods and ...Show more


1. Touted as the Father of Modern Philosophy, Rene Descartes (1596-1650) has both historically influenced and the development of modern thinking. Descartes exemplifies the quest for new foundations for knowledge that marked the end of the Middle Ages and Renaissance…
Author : thiellitzy
On Discourse on Method
Read Text Preview
Save Your Time for More Important Things
Let us write or edit the essay on your topic
"On Discourse on Method"
with a personal 20% discount.
Grab the best paper

Check these samples - they also fit your topic

Critical Discourse
There are so many researchers who have contributed to the study of critical discourse analysis. This approach has found disciplines that include humanity, social sciences, linguistics, power and language, and more. The discourse can be studied in three contexts, which are language texts, discourse practice and discursive events. The analysis of the above mentioned factors will lead to a better understanding of critical discourse analysis.
10 pages (2500 words) Essay
Rene Descartes - The Discourse on the Method
Descartes, through his works on scientific and philosophical epistemology—on method, in essence—demonstrates that he recognizes the importance of method as he develops a new way of conducting science and philosophy (considered as one discipline during his time).
7 pages (1750 words) Essay
Discourse on Method
This argument conforms to the one in part 4 that indicates that, the knowledge of the causes of various occurrences creates an opportunity for individuals to find out the exact way to deal with aspects beyond the bodily nature. Where nature tends to have an upper hand, the human soul must come up with ways of surviving in the environment full of determinants of nature.
5 pages (1250 words) Essay
Descartes' Discourse on the Method (Part IV)
The fundamental message of the book is Descartes’ unique brand of critical thinking. He does not accept any claim if its truth is not obvious to him. Moreover, he does not start any new part of the book without declaring the existence of God and proving it with his arguments, which always comes as a surprise to readers.
3 pages (750 words) Essay
Discourse on the Method
Essentially, Descartes’ philosophical dispersion among his autobiographical recount in Discourse argues that there is a truth to be reached in this world and that truth may only be reached if one establishes
6 pages (1500 words) Essay
Descartes Discourse on the Method (Part IV).
Descartes began the fourth section by discussing about himself. The reading up to the point where he gives credit to a supreme being, God, could only suggest that
1 pages (250 words) Essay
Descartes discourse on the method
However, while doing this, Descartes faces the problem that he has to be something to be able to doubt other things, and thus he faces the problem of proving his own existence. In the effort to prove his
1 pages (250 words) Essay
Discourse Analysis
As opposed to the traditional linguistic method, discourse analysis does not only study the use of language beyond the boundaries of a sentence, but it also prefers to
1 pages (250 words) Essay
Rene Descartes Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy
the dream doubt, Descartes reckons that it is not possible to separate/ discern real life experiences from those in dreams since dreams can be quite convincing and vivid (Descartes, 1). He asserts that in the dream state one never realizes that the events in the dream are
2 pages (500 words) Essay
Discourse On Method and Meditations On First Philosophy
Material things exist since Descartes perceive them as objects of pure mathematics (Descartes, Weissman & Bluhm, 1996). In paying a very close attention to the imagination, it seems an
2 pages (500 words) Essay
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment
Let us find you another Essay on topic On Discourse on Method for FREE!
Contact us:
Contact Us Now
FREE Mobile Apps:
  • About StudentShare
  • Testimonials
  • FAQ
  • Blog
  • Free Essays
  • New Essays
  • Essays
  • The Newest Essay Topics
Join us:
Contact Us