HIS 291 final - The passage instructs us to be weary of our...

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David Grauer May 21, 2007 Nisbett, Wed. 2:30 Identifications 1) This passage belongs to Chapter One of René Descartes’ The World or Treatise on Light . The main concern of this passage is Descartes reluctance to accept his eyes’ “sensation of light” as the true representation of that which produced it. In passing through an intermediary, the light can fundamentally change upon passage “through the intermediary of our eyes”. This is in no way a new idea; the same principle pervades Plato’s Parable of the Cave . Plato was speaking about this philosophical concept as a phenomenon in general, Descartes brings it up here in the context of his new The World or Treatise on Light , and we should regard it in that light.
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Unformatted text preview: The passage instructs us to be weary of our senses, for they are not as reliable as we’d hope. Such logic lead thinkers to the use of instrumentation and concrete measurement in observation. In doing this, the observer could distance his own prejudices and ideas away from the object. Instrumentation allows the object to function in an isolated system while being observed by an unbiased instrument. We can then observe the instrument’s direct measurement and draw conclusions from that instrumentation without the influence of our eyes “perception”. In short, this introduction encourages, by way of a specific example in the eyes, a general healthy skepticism when approaching scientific phenomena. 2)...
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