Descartes Truth And Reality Analysis

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Something which can be difficult to distinguish when reading the Meditations is whether Descartes is talking about truth in its purest sense or reality. In the second meditation, he argues that when looking to establish truth we need to accept that we exist otherwise we cannot judge the truth in anything else. But this can be confusing as he is relating truth and reality and equalling them to each other. If Descartes here, is referring to the idea of reality he is arguing that for us to judge the reality of anything else, we must admit that through our ability to think for ourselves and rationalise, we must be real. However, if he is referring to truth, then he is using the truth of our own thoughts to rationalise the truth of all else. He …show more content…
truths regarding math etc. that did not require sensory experience could be attained by reason alone; other knowledge however, which required experience of the world alongside reason was doubtful. This knowledge could not be regarded as absolute as it required experiences which could not be trusted to be accurate. He added to this assertion by arguing that although dreams appear as real as waking experiences, these dreams cannot provide persons with knowledge, they can only draw from conscious sensory experiences. Also, since knowledge consciously derived from the senses can be the cause of illusions, then sense experience itself can be doubtable. He does not trust his senses as they can sometimes deceive us and as he says himself, “it is prudent never to trust completely those who have deceived us even once” As a result, Descartes deduced that a correct pursuit of truth should doubt every belief about reality. Descartes developed a method to attain truths according to which nothing that cannot be recognised by the intellect can be classified as knowledge. These truths are gained without any sensory experience, according to Descartes. Truths that are attained by reason are to be broken down into elements which intuition can grasp, which, through a purely deductive process, will result in clear truths about reality. This is why he argued that a being who can think and rationalise for themselves must …show more content…
For example, something which we perceive with our eyes must be rationalised by our thoughts. His famous dictum, cogito ergo sum, is a conclusion reached as obvious and necessary, not inferred from experience. This was, for Descartes, an irrefutable principle upon which to ground all forms of other knowledge. For us to accept and understand “knowledge” we must first accept our own existence. The absoluteness of certainty required for something to be regarded as a truth suggests that it should be beyond any sliver of a doubt. Descartes’ search for truth begins on the premise of radical doubt. Which is to say that all we have been taught to believe is true is actually false. His searches for truth by eliminating falsehoods and radical doubt is a result of this. He explains this in his first meditation by likening our minds to a basket of apples. To get rid of the bad apples which have started to go off, it makes sense to first tip out all the apples from the basket and put them back one by one, after careful inspection to make sure they have no signs of rot. It makes more sense to reject all our pre-ordained “truths” wholesale to start off with so as to be assured of their truth when we have finished our inspection. In an effort to continue along this vein he also creates an image of a supreme trickster constantly trying to

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