Phil100- Descartes First Assignment - Hannah McDonald...

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Hannah McDonald Professor Graham Philosophy 100 7 October 2011 Meditation One Descartes starts his meditations with questioning of what he can be completely certain— epistemology, metaphysics: what do we know and how do we know it? How do these things relate to each other? This is his desire for certainty; his first task is to demolish all of his opinions for he cannot be certain of anything. With this, he will adopt the most cautious course possible to ensure that he does not come across any falsity and eventually refrain from any form of doubt. Here, Descartes uses methodological skepticism, a method of doubt, by starting with the basic principles on which his former beliefs rest and knocking down the foundation. As humans, we experience many sensory experiences; Descartes is skeptical and notes that our sense perception may not necessarily be accurate. As he writes, he says he may think that he is by the fire in his dressing gown, writing the meditations, but how is he certain? He may be deceived. He thinks, I have perceptions very much like the ones I usually have in sensation while I am dreaming; maybe this perception of life which he is experiencing is all fantasy. If he doesn’t know that he’s not dreaming, he cannot be sure that he has hands. Therefore, he really doesn’t know that he has hands! He could very well be dreaming this moment, and in reality he has no idea whether he is dreaming or awake. But,
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