Descartes Reflection Paper
"The first was never to accept anything for true which I did not clearly know to be such;
that is to say, carefully to avoid precipitancy and prejudice, and to comprise nothing more in my
judgment than what was presented to my mind so clearly and distinctly as to exclude all ground
of doubt” (Descartes, 1637). Written in the book Discourse on Method, this quote is the start of
Descartes’ introduction to his first precept. It is also a start to a beginning where his teaching
might get a bit confused with the maxims he will mention later in the book. With a focus on
Descartes’ first precept and his first maxim, one will be able to come up with a reasonable
explanation to the confusion he brings about in the book.
Descartes’s first precept explains the idea that one should never assert or accept anything
in the world as being truthful if it is not clear.An example is if a person claims that he or she saw
an alien walking around the town. One should not go about their day believing that there really is
an alien around them. On the other hand, a person should only accept truth if the idea is clear in
terms of being able to be backed up by evidence. An example of believing something as being
true would be an encounter or a picture taken of the alien along with DNA testing showing that
the thing is legitimately of alien-root. Dam 2
Descartes’ first maxim plays somewhat of a shifting focus compared to his first precept.
In his first maxim, Descartes’states that one should obey the laws and customs of one’s nation as
well as his or her religion. Furthermore, one should also adhere to the moderate opinions
accepted by the most sensible people of their nation. He explains that by following this maxim,
one will find it easier to be guided through the lifestyle of his or her nation.
Although Descartes’ first maxim may bring about a better lifestyle for others, one will
have to question about how to