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

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

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Philosophy and Theology 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 University Degree Philosophy and Theology essays

  1. Post-Atheism: from Apophatic Theology to "Minimal Religion"

    The non-image, too, is approximately equivalent to the eschatological saying of Paul, that "the fashion of this world passeth away" (1 Corinthians, 7:31). If this world is about to lose its form, then art must also attempt to represent the loss of the image.

  2. It has sometimes been remarked how much has been written, both by friends and ...

    superhuman power must also be of superhuman knowledge and wisdom, made them disinterestedly desire to conform their conduct to the presumed preferences of these powerful beings, and to adopt no new practice without their authorization either spontaneously given, or solicited and obtained.

  1. The Struggle to Explain and Discover Reality

    by monitoring Robert's brain activity at the most intense and mystical moments of his meditation, we might shed some light on the mysterious connection between human consciousness and the persistent and peculiarly human longing to connect with something larger than ourselves" (162).

  2. How do you recognise 'Reality'? What makes 'Reality' 'Real'? This essay question is ...

    Most people would not describe their dreams as 'reality' however one can experience dreams that cannot be distinguished from waking experience. This provides a good example of how the senses cannot always be trusted, but also raises the question of 'how 'real' dreams are'.

  1. Can people still rely on knowledge from experts?

    If we look at the 'Circuit of Knowledge' (pg 12, Workbook 5, Kiloh, 2004) we see that knowledge is only part of a process of understanding and moving closer to the truth. I will now consider how the fields of science and religion formulate knowledge.

  2. Does Descartes show how we can have knowledge?

    the basic components of the mind and elements that we all posses. During the forth meditation Descartes points out that these elements are pale reflections of the infinite attributes of God, Descartes then imagines that the normal man is the midway between God and nothingness, being neither nothing or everything.

  1. Why does Dream Time end? Using any or all of the myths studied in ...

    Furthermore different myth stories Also, in the different myths studied, Dream Time usually starts with a creation story, the creation of the world or the creation of new life on earth. In the legends of the Sandy Lake Cree2, for instance, the story begins with O-ma-ma-ma giving birth to several

  2. What Does It Mean To Be Really Human?

    Plato labels the definitions of truths, "forms." Forms are that which are the make-up of our reality. Plato's view of reality is based on the Eleatic tradition. Reality is based on pure reason and not sense experience, it is composed of universal truths, it is unchanging and stable, and it

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