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Descartes tries to doubt reality to find out if it is indubitable and therefore really be the foundation for knowledge. Descartes doubts reality by telling that reality might all be a dream

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The existence of the human being is the foundation of all knowledge Miguel Mantica March 23, 2009 Section A Perspectives A state of uncertainty was created in Europe in the 16th Century. The church which was the source of authority becomes shaky, since its geocentric view of the world was changed when Copernicus discovered that the Earth was not the center of the universe. Also, the church becomes even weaker when Wycliffe writes against the doctrinal authority of the Pope, and when Luther wrote 95 theses against the selling of indulgences. These events led the church to decay, so the people disbelieved in it and the church end up having no source of authority. This begins a period of skepticism which is a philosophical position that says that is impossible to have knowledge of anything including science, religion and self. Descartes wants to end up this period of skepticism by using skepticism against itself and therefore finding the foundation of knowledge. He will try to doubt his present opinions to see if there is something that cannot be doubted and therefore it will be absolutely certain. This thing that is indubitable will be foundation of all knowledge. ...read more.


I completely confused a dream with reality. Descartes states that "There are no definitive signs by which to distinguish being awake from being asleep" (61). This tells us that all of our lives might be a dream. Thus, all disciplines like medicine and astronomy that are dependent on composite things will be doubtful; however, mathematics might be true, since it is not based on composite objects. For example, three times three will always be nine even if we are dreaming or awake. Mathematics is eternal, so it will not change even if reality is a dream and the senses deceive us. Descartes doubts mathematics to find out if it is really the foundation for knowledge. Descartes claims: "There exists a God who is able to do anything and by whom I, such I am, have been created" (61). This God might be an evil genius that is deceiving us all the time, so mathematics will be wrong. For example, we might think that two plus two is four, but God might be evil genius that wants us to live in a world of fantasy, so he might make us believe that two plus two is four when it is really five. ...read more.


This new foundation and way of communicating results will help society progress and will give confidence of the people's life. In conclusion, the existence of the human being gets rid of the skepticism in the 16th century. Descartes is able to find the foundation of knowledge by doubting each of the principles he once believed. He was using skepticism against itself to find out something that cannot be doubted and therefore be the foundation for knowledge. The senses, reality or mathematics cannot be the foundation of knowledge, because they might be incorrect. The senses sometimes deceive us and let us perceive the world in false way. Reality might all be a dream, we might think we are doing actions, but we might be in our beds dreaming. Mathematics might all be false, since there can be an evil genius that make be tricking us. Therefore, our existence has to be the foundation for knowledge, since it is absolutely true. We are always thinking in a wrong or correct way, but we are thinking, so we exist. This foundation of knowledge will bring all knowledge back into place even senses and religion, and the people will no longer be skeptical. ...read more.

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