Descartes - Michael Miller Philosophy 101 Rene Descartes In...

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Michael Miller Philosophy 101 Rene Descartes In Rene Descartes ’ “Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy” he questions many basic beliefs . Beliefs ranging from the existence of God to whether we can even be sure that we are here , in this place, right now, at this time. In his Meditations he never proves anything as being the right or wrong answer , but acknowledges that one can place doubt on just about anything . Descartes ’ first meditation brings about the famous dream argument. He begins his argument by questioning his basic principles of learning , his senses. “Surely whatever I had admitted until now as most true I received from the senses or through the senses .” He goes on to say that sometimes the senses can deceive , but only with respect to objects that are very small or far away , and that our sensory knowledge on the whole is quite sturdy . At first, after this realization, he begins to say that the only way he could deny his own body and his own existence is if he were to liken himself to the insane . But he knows he is not mad so he disregards this idea . “This would all be well and good,” he says, “were I not a man who is accustomed to sleeping at night , and experiencing in my dreams the very same things, or now and then even less plausible ones , as these insane people when they’re awake.” This is very true for almost all people . Often, in dreams, we are led to believe we are experiencing something that feels so real when in fact we are in our beds sound asleep . He then comes to the conclusion that there are no definitive signs that one can distinguish being awake from being asleep .
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This note was uploaded on 05/04/2008 for the course PHIL 101 taught by Professor Beresford during the Fall '07 term at University of Massachusetts Boston.

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Descartes - Michael Miller Philosophy 101 Rene Descartes In...

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