Differential Knowledge Essay
Although Descartes appears argue in favour of the skeptic view by initially denying knowledge of anything, this is simply the starting point of his argument. That is to say, by denying all knowledge, he is able to break down everything that we claim to be knowledge, and, to reiterate, rebuild it. In addition, by arguing in favour of the skeptic view, Descartes is able to shed light on the weaknesses of the skeptic's argument, because, ultimately, Descartes intends to discredit the skeptic view. Thus, to put it more formally, his intention is to critically distinguish between what we know and what we do not know. From his distinction, he infers four general concepts: we know that we exist or, more specifically, Descartes knows that he exists; we know that God exists; we know physical objects exist; and finally, the rules of mathematics are knowledge.
Descartes begins his denial of knowledge by doubting some of his beliefs that he once held to be true; more specifically, beliefs that once acted as grounds of knowledge. As he is able to show that these once thought to be true beliefs are indeed false, he is able to infer that if a true belief is doubtable, then in regards to it being a foundation of knowledge, it is equivalent to a false