Descartes ' Method Of Doubt Essay
In the beginning of Mediation One, Descartes declares that he has realized for a long time that if he “wanted to establish anything firm and lasting in the sciences” (553), he would have to start from the very foundations of all knowledge. It’s not that he rejects everything as false, but feels it necessary to doubt all things in order to build a certain and solid foundation. Descartes believes that “undermining the foundations will cause whatever has been built upon them to crumble of its own accord” (533). This is known as the famous theory called the Method of Doubt. Descartes is adopting skepticism and is only aiming to doubt, not to reject, his beliefs.
The Method of Doubt is a process of doubting one’s own beliefs in order to establish which beliefs are actually true. Descartes employs a basic strategy which aims to defeat doubt at the very foundation. Therefore, if any specific fact can stand this test, it is truly certain and can be considered a solid foundation of knowledge.
We begin to understand the first part of this process in Meditation One. Descartes begins raising doubt by pointing out that our senses are unreliable. Again, his aim in these arguments were not really to prove that nothing exists, or that it is impossible for us to know if anything exists, but to show that all knowledge of these things through the senses is open to doubt. If for example, the Sun looks small when we know that to be false because the Sun is in fact…