Rene Descartes Skepticism Analysis

To be a skeptic is to have “an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object” (“Skepticism”). Skepticism is a strong theme throughout the philosophical works of both René Descartes and David Hume. In Descartes’s Discourse on Method he bases all of his philosophical reasoning on the principle of doubting all prior accepted knowledge and questioning everything. In Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Hume raises his doubts about Descartes’s ideas about skepticism, stating his belief that moderate skepticism is more productive than radical doubt. Based on their opinions in their most prolific works, Descartes is shown to be a greater skeptic than Hume is because Descartes is skeptical …show more content…
Descartes philosophies grew from his discontent with the Jesuit education he was raised with. He decided to fix this dissatisfaction by following his own “method”. The first step of this method was “never to accept anything as true that [he] did not plainly know to be such” (Descartes 11). Descartes built his whole philosophy on life around the principle of skepticism. Descartes decided that he would not believe anything to be true that he had not thought through himself; he refuses to accept any information that is just given to him. Then throughout his whole Discourse, Descartes goes more in depth on what he is still skeptical of even after he has thought through for himself. Descartes said that “because the senses sometimes deceive us, [he] wanted to suppose that nothing was exactly as they led us to imagine” (Descartes 18). While Hume is also largely skeptical of the world around him, he is skeptical to a much lesser degree than Descartes, shown through his disdain for Descartes’s radical doubt. In An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Hume talks about his belief that radical doubt is an unfeasible way to think about the world, saying, “ … “ (Hume ). Although Hume does not believe in the necessity of doubting everything, he is in favor of being moderately skeptical of Additionally, Hume believes in many of the things Descartes was skeptic of in Discourse on

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