• 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"

    "Faith and image" represent the theme of our reflection, while the result of this reflection can be expressed in all the grammatical permutations of these words, in their negation, their bracketting off in quotation marks, and their meaningful omission.

  2. Structuralist Epistemology - archaeology of knowledge

    but is intimately implicated within the conduct of his research as one agent of the social practices he investigates.[28] Though less generalising, genealogy or 'effective history' still smells of the impersonal approaches of structuralism whereby an 'event...is not a decision, a treaty, a reign, or a battle, but the reversal

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

    But because, when men were still savages, they, would not have received either moral or scientific truths unless they bad supposed them to be supernaturally imparted, does it follow that they would now give up moral truths any more than scientific, because they believed them to have no higher origin than wise and noble human hearts?

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

    It becomes evident with, for example, optical illusions that one's eyes can be tricked into seeing things which are not there. If this is the case then one can never be sure if what one is experiencing is 'real' or if it is a manipulation of one's senses.

  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. The Struggle to Explain and Discover Reality

    This article, along with the preceding two, leads us closer to answering the main question behind the attempted integration of truth discovered by fact and truth discovered by means where fact is unnecessary. To what extent can science be useful in describing the nature of transcendent experience, and where should the union be broken?

  1. Does God Make Mathematics?

    In ancient Greece, where scientific thought first developed, religion had an important position in people's lives. For that reason, when people confused about what they observe in nature, they were looking for the answers of their questions in religious myths.

  2. Zionism has never seriously posed this question: Why, during these two thousand years, have ...

    of the Messiah, thus enabling the Jews to adjust to a life of dispersion and exile. "The 'hoped-for' return to Palestine argued Mendelssohn is reserved only for synagogues and prayer for the Jews inner religious feeling alone, but but it has no influence on our conduct of citizens.

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