Descartes Discourse on Method Essay examples

936 Words May 13th, 2005 4 Pages
Understanding Descartes' Method of Doubt

Clear your mind, if you will, of everything you have ever seen or known to be true. To begin understanding Rene Descartes' method of doubt, you need to suspend all prejudice and prior judgments and start with a clean slate "for the purpose of discovering some ultimate truth on which to base all thought." (Kolak, Pg.225). Discouraged with much skepticism from his own beliefs, Descartes was embarrassed of his own ignorance. He set out to try and accomplish the task of finding an absolute truth in which he would base his beliefs. Placing upon himself a task to find an axiom or absolute truth to base all thought, "he ventured as a youth in travel to collect a variety in experiences to derive some
…show more content…
Assuming that everything you see is fictitious, Descartes believed he had no senses at all; "body, shape, extension, motion, and place are unreal."(Weissman, Pg.23). Our senses have failed us all at one point or another in our lives, so why use the senses as a base for thought? The most famous quote and philosophy by Descartes in history ever, "Je pense, donc je suis, cogito ergo sum" (Durant, Pg.639). "I think, therefore I am" was the first step towards a basis to understand truth, and leaning away from truth through the senses.

Method of Doubt Step Two

The second argument that Descartes defends is another question posed towards the senses. How can we take anything as real if our dreams cannot be deciphered from reality? In dreams there lies deception by similar illusions found in reality. So we must make sense that "there are no certain marks by which the state of waking can ever be distinguished from sleep." (Kolak, Pg.239). Descartes recollects sitting next to the fire and feeling the warmth and the realness that related to it, but we still feel the warmth of the fire outside the dream.
Having already a preconceived notion that there exists a supreme power of God, Descartes says, "I cannot avoid conceding that, at

Related Documents