Descartes Discourse Analysis

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Throughout Descartes Discourse and Meditations, he tears down the foundations of his knowledge and doubts all things that are not grounded on definite knowledge. His questioning leads him to discredit everything, as he cannot find anything that can’t be doubted. However, once he had doubted everything he searched for something indisputable. He realises to doubt is to think, and to think is to exist, so they first indisputable rule he comes to is ‘I think, therefore I am’. In this quote he proposes that he has found the first unquestionable and unbreakable law of the universe, that no man could ever disprove or argue against.

Skeptics argue that nothing is certain, and that no knowledge can be known for sure. However, the paradox of the skeptics …show more content…

He considers the fact that we get all our knowledge and information from our senses however he realises that our senses can not be trusted. The senses can lead us down incorrect paths by suggesting that what we can see, feel, hear, smell or taste something different to what is in fact reality. This point is supported by dreaming, a phenomenon that is not actuality, which involves our senses, when we think that we are in one place doing one thing, the truth is that we are asleep. Given this fact he deliberates whether reality could in fact be a similar thing, and that the world we sense in day to day life is in fact just an illusion, like those of a dream. He finds examples of people who are tricked by their senses while conscious, for example people with jaundice seeing things as yellow. He also discusses his theory of representationalism, which is when things appear different depending on how the are represented. The example Descartes gives explains how stars seem to be very small although the reality is that they are huge, they are just distant from …show more content…

He believes ‘I think, therefore I am, [is] so certain and so evident that all the most extravagant suppositions of the sceptics [are] not capable of shaking it’. However, there are flaws in his argument. French philosopher Pierre Gassendi objects Descartes quote ‘I think, therefore I am’ by pointing out that Descartes had not yet proven that it was in fact himself who was thinking. Instead be the case that the thoughts he was having could have come from somewhere or someone else, and thus a more accurate thing to say would be ‘there are thoughts’. If we can doubt Descartes ‘I think, therefore I am’ we can also doubt ‘I am, I exist’, and resultantly it means that the following beliefs put forward by Descartes do not have solid ground, meaning the only thing we know to be certain is ‘there are

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