Descartes Meditations Analysis

Good Essays
In this paper, I will provide an analysis for one of the celebrated arguments by Descartes written in the Meditations. The challenging argument presented by Descartes is the argument from ignorance, which is precisely claimed in his First Meditation. Moreover, the skeptical argument requires for one to know that the present external world is not a dream in order to have knowledge that an external world exists. Otherwise, one does not really know that an external world exists. As noted, this argument of logical possibility presents difficulties when attempting to provide a satisfactory answer to avoid the questioning of the entailment of what one knows. However, Barry Stroud and Elizabeth Wolgast provide different approaches to answer and understanding of the paradigm established in the argument. The context of the argument from ignorance that Descartes proposes is problematic when attempting to answer it . In Wolgast’s perspective, the argument from ignorance claims that the knowledge that one is not dreaming is a necessary condition to determine the existence of the external world. Under such circumstances, Wolgast claims that by considering ‘know’ as a necessary condition, then it becomes more difficult to provide evidence that will suffice the skeptic— …show more content…
The argument from ignorance presents difficulties that simply place into question one’s confidence when answering a vague question. Wolgast and Stroud demonstrate the improper context and meaning of the argument, in which we are forced to provide an answer. However, if the answer provided has any correlation with our knowledge obtained through the senses, then it is not a satisfiable answer. Similar to the example that Stroud’s example, if one attempts to provide an answer by using a method (e.g. a test tube)—assuming that knowledge is a necessary condition—then such proof would

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    Someone may say that deduction is true by logic. Then the same question comes again. How do we know that the logic is reliable except for we intuitively think it is? This may seem to be question begging, but that is how things naturally go if you doubt the legitimacy of the basic methodology we use. You start to doubt everything.…

    • 1698 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Given that these properties exist, there must be sufficient reason for the existence, which leads us to rationalism as an argument. In geometry, proofs consist of conditional statements leading up to a truth; however, these are based on a pre-supposed definition. From a rationalistic point of view, making assertions about the universe, there is not initial pre-supposed truth on which to base statements – it comes down to a debate of opinion. Rationalism would point to reason as that pre-supposed truth. People rely on their own foundational convictions without external proof.…

    • 1153 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Moreover, when one accepts the rash assumption of Descartes, one must accept the alternative to Descartes’ belief: under the possibility of not being deceived, we must assume that we are not being deceived. However, both of these claims—though presenting the same logic—are incompatible. In consequence, since the possibility cannot equal the absolute, then one cannot accept the assertion that we are…

    • 746 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    This includes authority, systematic and revisionary. Relativism would mean we are stuck. Yet MacIntyre gives us an account of how traditions can progress and reflect upon themselves. Relativism held that a tradition or way of life could only justify its conception of justification internally, but a framing of new theories shows that relativism is mistaken in this belief, since scope, coherence and continuity are external to a tradition. Furthermore, if a theory only meets scope and coherence, but not continuity, then we have grounds for declaring it superior to a previous one, but inferior to a one that has all three.…

    • 1871 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    This approach may be recognized as one of many contentious issues for critics of Descartes’ philosophy. Descartes studies and writing often rely heavily on self-evident propositions. And Descartes’ criterion of truth is itself a seemingly self-evident proposition. It is important to stop here and question the very nature of such propositions. A self-evident proposition is one that is known to be true by understanding its meaning without proof.…

    • 1832 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    This however contradicts himself and leads him to beg the question. The problem with the debate of Moore vs the philosophical skeptic is they both believe in different worlds. Moore believes in what could be called the "realistic world" whereas the philosophical skeptic believes in the "doubtful world". Intuitively, it goes against all of our senses to believe that such an external and "realistic" world does not exist. Moore is correct in describing our intuitions as the smarter bet, but because he tries to demonstrate his argument deductively, his "proof" is invalid.…

    • 850 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Furthering the theme of doubting the existing structure of knowledge to arrive at the truth , Descartes mentions underlying issue of accepting historical text at face value without questioning it completely , this further voids actual understanding . “And…

    • 717 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Debunking Ethical Realism

    • 712 Words
    • 3 Pages

    He grapples with two general forms of debunking arguments, both of which state that the source of moral beliefs is separate from moral facts. One form yields skeptical outcomes for realism because our moral beliefs would be extremely unlikely to track facts that are not their source,…

    • 712 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    This prioritizes the essential characteristics offered in the definition. The presupposition is that the definition of must be true for it to be good. It follows that the property of a belief and/or the justification of it cannot make it true. Properties are determinants of the truth value. We therefore require an intrinsic connection to truth.…

    • 1068 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The problem of induction is the question if inductive reasoning leads to knowledge understood on the philosophical sense on the lack of justification that, generalizing about properties of similar observations, and assuming a sequence of events will occur in the future the same way as they have done in the past. Hume believes that, “we have no reason to believe the conclusion of any inductive argument.” Inductive means to look for strong evidence to find the truth of a conclusion. In Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, he is trying to doubt the hope that the reader can have many reasonable beliefs. Hume does this using a priori and a posteriori statements. An a priori statement is the process of reasoning without a reference to certain…

    • 808 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays