Dreams - Peter Dimas 17 November 2007 Phil 101/Beresford Is...

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Peter Dimas 17 November 2007 Phil. 101/Beresford Is It A Dream? Though a Jesuit, the French 17 th century philosopher Rene Descartes contradicted many ancient philosophers’ beliefs, especially Aristotle’s philosophy of realism, of matter being real. In the first meditation, Descartes claims that we can never be sure if whether we are dreaming or not. He decides that everything could be doubted, even the simplest ideas. He argues that the senses could be spurious and deceptive, and the only reality is God. I am Christian, thus do believe there is a God; however, it is difficult for me to believe that nothing except God is real, and all sensations are false and caused by God. Nonetheless, the idea itself of whether or not we are dreaming seems quite plausible, though I personally do not believe that the senses deceive us all the time. Descartes begins his meditation by doubting everything that can be possibly doubted: “Several years have now passed since I first realized how numerous were the false opinions that in my youth I had taken to be true…I had to raze everything to the ground and begin again from the original foundations, if I wanted to establish anything firm and lasting in the sciences” (p.59). He realizes that to make discoveries, one must purge him/herself of falsehoods, and initially does this meditation to clear up his mind for the sciences, doubting everything that seems dubious and perhaps false.
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