Summary Of Descartes Meditations (got 96%)

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PHIL 1000
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Summary of Descartes Meditations on First PhilosophyMeditation I 1 A firm foundation for the sciences requires a truth that is absolutely certain for this purpose I will reject all my beliefs for which there is even a possibility of doubt and whatever truths are left will be absolutely certain 2 To this end it is not necessary to go through all my beliefs individually since they are all based on a more fundamental belief If there is any reason to doubt this foundation belief then all the beliefs based on it are equally doubtful 3 All my beliefs about the world are based on the fundamental belief that the senses tell me the truth But this belief is not absolutely certain It is at least possible that everything my senses tell me is an illusion created by a powerful being Therefore there is some reason to doubt my foundation belief and thus all my beliefs about the world are doubtful none of them can serve as the foundation for science Meditation II 1 If all my beliefs about the world are doubtful is there any truth which can be absolutely certain Yes Even if all of my experience is an illusion it cannot be doubted that the experience is taking place And this means that I the experiencer must exist 2 Since the only evidence I have that I exist is that I am thinking experiencing then it is also absolutely certain that I am a thing that thinks experiences that is a mind 3 Since I am not certain yet that the physical world including my body exists but I am certain that I exist it follows that I am not my body Therefore I know with certainty that I am only a mind 4 I am much more certain of my minds existence than my bodys It might seem that in fact we know physical things through the senses with greater certainty than we know something intangible like the mind But the wax experiment demonstrates that the senses themselves know nothing and that only the intellect truly knows physical things It follows that the mind itself is known with greater certainty than anything that we know through the senses Meditation III 1 Every idea must be caused and the cause must be as real as the idea If I have any idea of which I cannot be the cause then something besides me must exist 2 All ideas of material reality could have their origin within me But the idea of God an infinite and perfect being could not have originated from within me since I am finite and imperfect
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