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Descartes paper - Alexa Papaila Rene Descartes and David...

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Alexa Papaila 1 Rene Descartes and David Hume have very different views on many types of philosophy, including both the manners in which individuals gather wisdom and the causality of occurrences. However, both employ the use of skepticism to support many of their arguments. Descartes-a rationalist-doubts his own sense perceptions to the point that he isolates himself from the world; by separating worldly thoughts from his philosophy, he assumes his ideas reflect innate ideas placed in him by a superior, ultimate force (God). Hume-an empiricist-doubts the existence of anything that cannot be proven without observable evidence. These contrasting approaches towards establishing truths about wisdom and knowledge ultimately weaken the substance of the majority of Cartesian proof of God’s existence. The reason Descartes believes his philosophy is credible is due to the manner in which he discovered his theories; he believed that by separating oneself from all prior prejudices and experiences, the only ideas left in one’s mind must be unselfish, unbiased, and completely true. The beliefs he seeks to eliminate from reasoning are any gathered from sense perception that allow for human misinterpretation (this is often referred to as “a priori knowledge”). After realizing “how numerous were the false opinions [he] had in [his] youth taken to be truth,” Descartes “realized that…[he] had to raze everything to the ground and begin again from the original foundations, if [he] wanted to establish anything firm and lasting in the sciences.” Thus, Descartes became a maser of “eliminating” his interpretations. Instead, he isolated himself to achieve a non-secular, mindset to speculate about theories and to formulate undeniable truths. Hume immediately counters Descartes’ radical surrendering of all reason and fact, arguing it is impossible to free oneself from all the effects of all prior experience. As an
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Alexa Papaila 2 empiricist, Hume believed the mind is a “clean slate 1 ” at birth without any knowledge; rather, knowledge is obtained through our experiences and senses. Using the empiricist approach, Hume claims one cannot avoid the inferences they have made in their encounters with the world. It’s very impractical to conclude that outside sources did not impact people’s opinions-it is more probable that people gain impressions from each experience that later evolve into customs and habits. These customs and habits mold every individual’s life, creating a distinct understanding and support system for everyone.
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