Descartes and Perry

Descartes and Perry - Descartes and Perry Descartes is...

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Descartes and Perry Descartes is considered by many as the first modern philosopher, using both reason and science unlike those before him. In his Meditations on First Philosophy he comes to the idea that, “I think, therefore I am, therefore I am a thinking thing.” This idea is arrived at via a series of steps and reasoning put forward by Descartes in his first meditations. He begins by discussing both intuition and our senses, evaluating what we can believe and what we cannot believe. Descartes brings up the fact that we do not know what we can believe because we do not know whether we are dreaming or are truly awake. He questions whether or not we can trust our senses saying, “…it is a mark of prudence never to place our complete trust in those who have deceived us even once” (Descartes 14). From here he declares that nothing can be believed other than simpler things such as quantity, color, and simple math. He says that whether or not he is awake, this basic facts of life hold true even if he is in a dream; “For whether I am awake or asleep, two plus three makes five, and a square does not have more than four sides” (Descartes 15). However, upon further contemplation, he takes it one step further, proposing the idea of a supreme evil deceiver instead of God. This being would twist the views of man, making him think that two plus two equals five and plant other such lies in their minds. With all of this stated, Descartes starts at the most basic level, by assuming there is a supreme evil deceiver, and doubting everything. He starts by doubting everything except for, “…the single fact that nothing is certain” (Descartes 17). H then reasons that there must be some God which gives him these thoughts, or at least allows him to have these thoughts. Though he has denied
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himself having any senses or any body, because he may be dreaming or being deceived, he reasons that having these thoughts would at least make him something, in some way. He cannot know that the physical world is true and cannot know anything beyond his own existence as long as there is a supreme deceiver. He knows he exists, not as a body, but as something that has these thoughts, as a thinking thing; “What about thinking?
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