The Impact Of Descartes Meditations On First Philosophy

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Descartes does not explicitly state his system of knowledge, but he builds up a true and certain foundation of knowledge in the first meditation of his book, Meditations on First Philosophy. Descartes’s ultimate goal is find the foundation of knowledge that is indubitable. In fulfillment of his goal, Descartes thinks, he must give up all the preconceived idea he used to have and start from the foundation. Descartes develops his first mediation by illustrating the deception of our senses, demonstrating the dreaming example and lastly creating the “malicious demon” assumption. These steps have a profound impact on building up Descartes’s “Cogito theory”, which he will address in the second mediation. The “Cogito” theory is developed based on …show more content…

First, we are not always dreaming. The objector is trying to persuade that when we are awake, we cannot doubt whether we are awake or not. This is indeed a true statement, however, how can we prove or even realize that we were awake without external evidence. Descartes address this kind of objection when he is writing his first mediation, where he mentioned his dreaming example: he believes that he is sitting by the fire (Note that this is his belief). The reason why he has such belief is because that is how his surroundings show him through his senses (Note that this is the evidence of his belief). However, even when he is in fact not sitting by the fire, but lying on bed and sleeping, or deceived by the malicious demon, he is also able to see the same thing under any of these states (Note that this is the possibilities that cannot be eliminated). Descartes emphasizes that “All this will not happen with such distinctness to someone asleep. Indeed! As if I did not remember other occasions when I have been tricked by exactly similar thoughts while asleep!” (Descartes, Mediation I, 13). Under such circumstance that we cannot clearly distinguish dreaming and awake, we cannot completely deny that we are not dreaming. After all, Descartes are not telling us to believe that we are asleep, which is completely absurd. But we should not exclude this possibility, even though it might sound crazy. In fact, he thinks, the evidence that he have cannot sufficiently these absurd possibilities. For this reason, he does not have adequate reason to support his belief – he is sitting by the fire. This dreaming reject the scholar’s objection by suggesting if he cannot give adequate evidences that prove he is not dreaming, he cannot claim he is not always dreaming. If the objector just simply saying that I am awake, that I know I am awake. This does not give an effective evidence to support his

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