Descartes' 'Method of Doubt', Essay Sample in Philosophy

Published: 2022-03-09
Descartes' 'Method of Doubt', Essay Sample in Philosophy
Type of paper:  Literature review
Categories:  Philosophers
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 599 words
5 min read

Rene Descartes is considered the father of modern philosophy because of the many books he published and the conurbations he made regarding philosophical matters. The preamble section of the chapter begins by highlighting some of the arguments that Descartes had with John Locke, which led to the question of human knowledge. The metaphysical debate between the two individuals made Descartes who lived in the time of Galileo to define the term epistemology, which questions the reality of the things that we see. The realization led Descartes to start asking questions regarding the existence of things and the truth in the dreams we experience at night. Descartes begins by doubting all that he knows. Descartes starts doubting his dreams and uses doubt as a tool that we can utilize to determine a truth we can know with certainty. Descartes believes he cannot question his existence because the evil genius in him could not fool him. These ideas made Descartes talk about the "I." Thus, the essay is a summary of the chapter From "Meditation I" by Rene Descartes.

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In the first few paragraphs of the chapter, Descartes decides to question all the opinions and decisions he made in his youthful years. He narrates how the real ideas and beliefs he had formulated in the past were all false beliefs. Descartes decides to discard all the decisions since his youthful years and plans to start a new foundation. Descartes knows for sure that he cannot ascertain all the opinions he had made were right, but promises to question every single belief he finds indubitable than accept and live with an idea, which he knows with certainty that it is false. Descartes recognizes that his senses have played a significant role to help him accept and learn new things, but he cautions that these feelings are sometimes deceptive, and it is vital not to trust anything in this life. Moreover, Descartes recognizes that even though senses deceive us, there are instances where we cannot doubt them because we can realize the means. He illustrates that one cannot question the fact that he is sitting down on a chair holding the newspaper unless he is devoid of sense.

In the chapter, Descartes recognizes and acknowledges that sleep causes him to dream and form representations of ideas that are impossible even for the insane people to experience while awake. Descartes argues that what happens in rest does not come to reality. He praises his knowledge in arithmetic, geometry, and other sciences because they help him see the truth in the end. He argues that whether asleep or awake, the sciences have a measure of certainty and an element of the indubitable. Descartes goes further and questions the belief that an all-powerful God exists. He doubts the existence of the earth, the heavens, and any other bodies. Descartes asks whether the almighty God deceives him whenever undertaking mathematical calculations. Descartes believes that God does not permit him to be deceived because it is not in his goodwill; however, he ends up trusting that God allows him to be fooled.

Descartes finalizes the chapter by arguing that God is not that good, but an evil genius who always deceives him. With this in his mind, Descartes regards the heavens, the earth, colors, his hands, flesh, senses, and all other materials as illusions and dreams plotted by the evil genius to lay traps for his credulity. Descartes wishes to sleep like a captive who dreams of liberty and realizes the freedom is an illusion. He dares not to awake from his slumber and avoid the laborious wakefulness.

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