Rene Descartes: Doubtful Dreams

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Doubtful Dreams As any other philosopher, Rene Descartes was driven by the need to find the undeniable truth. He was very upset when he realized as a young man that many of the things he was taught in school was scarcely supported by evidence, if not out right false (Pojman & Vaughn, 2011, p.487). Therefore, when he began his foray into philosophy, he decided would deny and ignore all previously accepted opinions and build an entirely new foundation of truth to build on (Tweyman, 2013, p.45). He did this by using what is now known as the Cartesian Method. The Cartesian Method was something of a short cut for Descartes, a process which allowed him to call all of his beliefs into question without having to question each and everyone …show more content…
Just as there is no way to know if our senses are deceiving us, there is no way to tell if we are awake or dreaming. This step is harder to wrap the mind around but Descartes argues that there are plenty of times when he has been dreaming and had no idea until he woke up (Tweyman, 2013, p.47). Which is a very valid point, people often have very mundane dreams that consist of them just going about their day, completely unaware they are dreaming. This brings into question the reality of the physical world and raises doubts about the existence of the objects people regularly interact …show more content…
He introduced the idea of a malicious demon. Descartes described it as a being “of the utmost power and cunning has employed all his energies in order to deceive me” (Pojman & Vaughn, 2011, p.487). It was perhaps the most difficult step for people to accept. The main idea behind this thought experiment is the possibility of simply existing as a brain being manipulated to experience whatever the manipulator wishes. In such a situation, not even mathematics would be able to hold up. The manipulator could simply make you believe that two plus two equals four when it really equals something else. With the very foundations of reality questioned, Descartes felt his beliefs were adequately striped enough to begin looking for his undeniable truth. The entirety of his second book, Meditation II, is about Descartes trying to reason out that one truth. After thoroughly denying his senses, and therefore body, was left rather confused on what direction he was supposed to take. He had no physical body, he denied the existence of god (Tweyman, 2013, p.51), his memories are all lies, and everything else he knew was assumed to be a trick from the malevolent

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