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Summary #3: Renes Descartes Meditation 1 and 2

by OC4

Course Code
Diana Raffman

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Renés Descartes:
He was one of the most important thinkers of the early modern period.
His work in philosophy and mathematics set the tone for subsequent investigation of
these topics.
He looks at radical skepticism (when everything we believe has doubt).
Descartes wrote six meditations.
Meditation 1 (what can be called into doubt):
When he was a child, he felt that he had been deceived, and was stuck by a large number
of falsehoods that he believed (example) Santa Claus.
He wanted to forget everything completely and start again with foundations so that
anything he learned in the sciences and generally would be stable and likely to last.
! His beliefs had to be foundational. They provide foundations of security. Overall, beliefs
have strong and secure foundations.
- Skepticism: This is anyone who challenges our beliefs.
- Reasons to doubt: If you can find a reason to doubt your beliefs and see something
false about it, then you should reject it.
He wants to know how we know when something we know is right or wrong.
! If the belief isn’t certain and have “reasons to doubt then you should reject your belief.
! It doesn’t have to be everything that you question, but the basic principles that all your
beliefs rested on.
Reasons to doubt 1
- He believes that people’s beliefs came from their senses.
! He believes that the senses deceive, and we should never completely trust those who
have deceived us even once.
Reasons to doubt 2
- He considered himself a madman.
! But then he realized that madmen have some sort of brain damage/disorder.
! People with mental illnesses can be deceived depending on what their mind are telling
Reasons to doubt 3
- People who sleep can dream about the same experience while asleep while madmen
do when awake.
! Sleeping is deceiving because when you are dreaming you are in afake world”.
! Sometimes people actually believe in their dreams, although they are false.
! Some of these people are convinced that their dreams are real when that cannot be the
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