Essay on Critique of Descartes' Dream Argument

1508 Words Apr 4th, 2011 7 Pages
Sara Logan
Philosophy 101
14 November 2008
Critique of Descartes’ Dream Argument Descartes has written a set of six meditations on the first philosophy. In these meditations he analyzes his beliefs and questions where those beliefs were derived from. The first mediation of Descartes discusses his skeptical hypotheses; questioning the validity of the influences of his knowledge. He has a few main goals that are expressed through the first meditation. First off, Descartes wants to build a firm foundation of knowledge that is also concrete. Through probing his mind for answers to all of his skeptical thoughts, he hopes to eliminate the skepticism and find true, unquestionable knowledge. Descartes has mapped out ways to
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Basically, Descartes is expressing the difficulty of distinguishing dreams from reality in his argument. He states that there are no clear, definite occurrences that can separate dreaming from daily life occurrences. If we are dreaming than we are led to believe falsehoods. This leads Descartes to question how we can believe anything if we never know the difference between a dream and reality. Descartes says that when we dream, we are unable to process full knowledge of our environment. Therefore, since there are no signals that differentiate these two worlds (reality from dream), we are always lacking knowledge of our surroundings. Descartes’ dream argument would be classified as an inductive argument. This means that his premises make the conclusion more likely, but does not guarantee that the conclusion will be true. We interpreted Descartes’ conclusion as: if we never know if we are awake or dreaming, than we cannot be aware of our surroundings, ever. By coming to this conclusion from his premises, the conclusion is still not guaranteed; therefore making it an inductive argument. I don’t believe that it is a fair statement to say that every single person is never aware of their surroundings. This is a form of an enumerative induction. Enumerative Induction is the process of deriving a generalization about an entire group of things based on observing some of the members of that

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