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Read the First Meditation from Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy and respond to the following

questions. Paste your answers in the submission box, or enclose them in an attachment.

1) Why did Descartes set out to overthrow all his beliefs and which strategy did he choose to accomplish this?

2) What attitude did Descartes eventually take towards knowledge gained through sense experience? Give examples of reasons why he doubted it. Provide some examples of your own that show occasions when senses deceive us.

3) Did Descartes believe we have reliable signs to distinguish the state of being awake from the state of being asleep? Do you personally believe it is possible to prove that you are not dreaming right now? How? If you think it is impossible to prove the difference between dreams and reality, what follows from this conclusion? 

4) Do you think our unconscious mind would be able to conjure up dreams that have nothing to do with the world we have experienced while awake? Did Descartes eventually conclude that dreams can make up reality which would be completely different from our conscious experience? According to Descartes, what elements of reality are our dreams made of?

5) What truths did Descartes believe still stand, whether or not we are dreaming? Which sciences did he take as more reliable than others and why?

6) In his final skeptical argument, Descartes imagines an evil god/demon who is messing up with our mind. Do you think Descartes really believed in the existence of this evil demon? Why did he introduce this idea? Did Descartes believe in God? How have you concluded this?

7) Which strategy did Descartes believe we should use in order to avoid any false judgements in the future? What do you think of this strategy? Would it be possible to live according to this principle? Why is it hard to not take for granted everything we believe in our ordinary life?

8) Does Descartes skeptical attitude make any sense to you? Why?

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