• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Descartes Meditations

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Descartes 'Meditations' Rene Descartes was a 17th century philosopher who still remains as one of the most influential and profound writers of modern philosophy. He was a mathematician and scientist who used his knowledge of these fields to search for the truth of existence. Descartes locates himself firmly in the rationalist camp, as opposed to the empiricism of Aristotle or his contemporary, John Locke. He constantly asserts in a poetic manner that the clear and distinct perceptions of the intellect are the only sure means of securing knowledge, and ultimately concludes in his 'Meditations', that the senses are not designed to provide us with true knowledge as they 'deceive, and it is prudent never to trust completely those who have deceived us even once'. The First Meditation can be seen as presenting sceptical doubts as a subject of study in their own right. Descartes was the first to raise the mystifying question of how we can claim to know with certainty anything about the world around us. ...read more.

Middle

I dreamt that I and a friend had found two tickets to see Oasis at the bottom of a swimming pool. It is a sold out gig which I tried to get tickets for so as you can imagine, I was very pleased with my find! Whilst sitting at a bar, I thought it was too good to be true and something that only dreams could comprise, so I said to my friend, 'I bet I am just dreaming', only to wake up that second...without the tickets. Although Descartes believes that the senses deceive us 'from time to time', he holds that studies of mathematics and other a priori subjects 'contain something certain and indubitable' because whether he is 'awake or asleep, two and three added together are five, and a square has no more than four sides'. He then goes onto question Gods goodness in relation to the 'transparent truths' of mathematics. The French philosopher writes that even simple things can be doubted. ...read more.

Conclusion

Furthermore, this 'imaginary freedom while asleep' conveys our content with accepting and sticking with 'old opinions' for fear that we may have to accept a newer, harsher reality. Whereas Descartes on the other hand wished to start from the foundations of what we think we know, and build up new solid beliefs about true knowledge. He wanted to 'recognize something certain', and if that was not possible, than 'recognize for certain that there is no certainty'. In Conclusion, Descartes saw his Meditations as providing the metaphysical underpinning of his new physics. Like Galileo, he sought to overturn two-thousand-year-old prejudices injected into the Western tradition by Aristotle and form a more modern and highly sceptic question of knowledge and existence. However he fully maintained that we do exist as 'I am thinking therefore I exist', so for Descartes, since he is the author of all his thoughts and queries into the world, he must be 'at least, something?' ?? ?? ?? ?? Alessandra Anzante ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. Evaluate Descartes Method of Doubt

    right in front of us, totally into doubt However, in his quest for knowledge and a water tight argument, Descartes again adds another caveat.

  2. Can computers think?

    Searle describes a system with brain states (the person receiving the input, and using the rule book to provide an output), but no mental state. He aims to show that no matter how complex the system is, it can never have mental states.

  1. The Search for Certainty - Descartes, Meditations.

    These three arguments were senses, dreams/illusions, and evil demon. Descartes went as far as questioning whether one can trust one's senses. He argued that because one's senses can sometimes be deceived, how can one accept any information that has been received in a physical manner? It is evident that senses can, at times, be deceived.

  2. Synoptic Study, Satre, Engels and Marx

    This leaves existentialism in a difficult situation as at best it seems insensitive and blas´┐Ż to the struggles people in difficult circumstances face. An additional problem faced by the acount is that there are certain cases in which we do not really have a choice.

  1. Bureaucracy: Friend or Foe?

    Americans enjoy the opportunity to choose, I can go to more than a hundred places tonight to eat dinner, but if I want my driver's license I must go to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Speaking of the DMV, where else would a corporate CEO go and be ordered around by a young black woman?

  2. Can a computer think? Really think?

    It would take him years to answer a question, if he could do it at all. In effect, Searle is postulating mental processes slowed down by a factor of millions, so no wonder it looks different. Searle's reply-that he could memorize the slips of paper and shuffle them in his head-sounds plausible enough.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work