Descartes And Method Of Doubt French philosopher Rene Desartes’s Meditation One: Concerning Those Things that Can Be Called into Doubt is a method of determining which beliefs are certain and which are doubtful. Descartes applied illusion argument, dreaming argument, and evil genius argument. In this paper, I will discuss how method of doubt supposed to work in general with examples and also why does Descartes adopts this particular method. Furthermore, I will add how method of doubt enables Descartes to achieve his goals and how he uses this particular method to accomplish his goals. Descartes’s method of doubt is practically about sorting out our beliefs and keeping the only absolute beliefs, which cannot possibly be false. “..because undermining the foundations will cause whatever has been built upon them to fall down of its own accord–I will at once attack those principles which supported everything that I once believed.” Descartes is saying that because of the weak foundations the built will fall on its own sooner or later therefore, he will “at once” attack his principles. I have perfect example to use here.
My Dad usually tells us what is the reason behind Pakistan’s failure. When in 1947, Pakistan separated from India there were no rules made and if there were they were not strictly enforced consequently now Pakistan is falling apart. Now Pakistani people are doing whatever they please to even though government is trying hard to discipline. Since people are so employed making their own rules and breaking them nothing seem to work. The purpose of my example is that when we start anything we must have strong foundations, which must be secure and mighty powerful so it will built up strongly.
And if foundation is weak eventually it will collapse. (p. 214) 2 In dream argument Descartes argue which casts doubt on the truth on our intellectual beliefs. For instance we normally think that world is in a particular way, on the basis of our perceptions of the world. So, I know its raining because I have perceptual belief that it’s raining. “How often has my evening slumber persuaded me of such a customary things as these: that I am here, clothed in my dressing gown, seated at the fireplace, when in fact I am lying undressed between the blanket.” In this sentence Descartes is trying to explain that many time we dream and what we dream seem very real.
According to Descartes structure of the reasoning goes like this: (A) It looks to me that it’s raining (B) So, I know that it’s raining The dream argument casts doubt on the transition from A to B assuming that we cannot know what we can doubt. (A) It looks to me that it’s raining (C) If I am dreaming then while it will look to me that it’s raining when it’s not really raining. So, I cannot be certain that it’s raining because it could be just a dream. (p. 215) The second argument Descartes used is evil genius existence.
Descartes used propositions of math because math problems as 7+5=12 or cone have three does not rely on our senses justification. Descartes used evil genius argument to prove that even a priori, beliefs whose truth or falsity can be established independently of experience could be doubtful. Maybe it’s evil genius, which is tricking us and making us to believe that 3 7+5=12 or cone have three sides. Lets look at the structure of the reasoning that will help us to understand little better. (A) It looks to me that it’s raining. (B) If I am being deceived by the evil genius then while it looks to me that it’s raining however, it’s not raining.
So, I cannot be certain that it’s raining because I could be just deceived by the evil genius. This example confirm that if evil genius exist than we cannot be certain about anything because it could be the evil genius that is tricking us and making us believe in certain way. (p. 216) Also Descartes used illusion argument which basically tells us how our senses deceive us. For example, I believe that it’s raining based on vision.
This could be false because vision can be uncertain. “And it is mark of prudence never to trust wholly in those things which have once deceived us.” Descartes is telling us never trust your senses which once deceived you because we cannot tell of course if we are being deceived or not. (p. 214) These arguments form doubt on great numerous beliefs we occupy. The only way out of this deadlock here would be, if we could tell whether we are dreaming or being deceived.
For example, if I knew that I was not dreaming nor I am being deceived, then I would know that what is happening to me was in fact the real incident. But the problem is we cannot be sure that we are not dreaming or being deceived. Dreaming, illusion, and evil genius arguments weaken all sort of knowledge from counting as accurate 4 knowledge. However, one thing is certain in these arguments that they involve thinking. For instance, if I am dreaming that it’s raining, I still think. Even if I am being deceived that it’s raining, I still think.
So, no matter if I am dreaming or being deceived I am still thinking. From this cause, here is one thing for certain: that I think. Descartes recognize that the fact he is thinking he exist because only what exists can think. Lets look at this example: If I think that it’s raining outside, I can be wrong about rain but I cannot be wrong about my thinking that it’s raining. This method of doubt enable Descartes to achieve his goals particularly at the end he came to conclusion that no matter if I am being deceived or dreaming either way I am thinking, which is certain knowledge.
Descartes accomplished his goals by trying all the factors but finally at the end he came to conclusion that no matter if he is dreaming, being deceived, or his senses deceive him one thing is indubitable, which is thinking. In addition to this, if he is thinking that means he exist because only those things which can think exist. So, “I think therefore I exist.” In conclusion, Descartes’s method of doubt assumption that any belief that can be doubted is false. Descartes used dream, illusion, and evil genius arguments lastly, came to certain conclusion that no matter if he was being deceive or dreaming however, one thing, Descartes argued, that was indubitable that he was thinking. And if you are thinking that means you exist because something must exist to do the doubting and thinking.
Bibliography Sober, Elliott. Core Questions in Philosophy. New Jersey: Englewood Cliffs, 1995. Cress, A., Donald. Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy. New York, 1999.