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Descartes Med 2

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In the Second Meditation Descartes argues that the nature of the human mind is better known than the nature of the material world. What does he mean, and is he correct?

Rene Descartes is widely regarded as the Father of modern philosophy and his text Meditations on First Philosophy, which was intended to change the general view of Aristotelian philosophers by challenging the main concepts, is acknowledge by many as the birth of Modern Philosophical thought in the western world. Descartes was a great thinker who made important advances in many fields of study including Analytical Geometry and Optics. Descartes was searching for a method which could be a reliable tool or guide for enquiring into the notion of truth without adopting the attitude those previously before him. For example set out to refute the attitude of the complete sceptic "Ð' is still much more reasonable to believe than deny", he also believed the field of history could be not be used as a reliable guide in the discovery of truth, and that its claim to truth was discredited by the fact that the method of history makes generalisations which are then subjected to different interpretations. He also understood that Mathematics should be avoided as the benchmark for obtaining truth and indubitably as it utilised a method of abstraction that was so far removed from facts of the physical word, and although it can be used as a method of analysis and abstract representation, it could not be used as a reliable method of enquiry into truth.

Descartes writes that the reliable method of enquiry should begin with the stand point of the complete sceptic, as he concludes that not only does he know anything, but what he might know is also probably laden with error and confusion. Therefore Descartes makes the decision that he will not accept anything unless it has such logical weight and clarity that he is compelled to accept it as true. By doing this Descartes refutes the Aristotelian Philosophy that knowledge comes from the use of the senses as Descartes regards the senses as a mere component of the extended domain of existence, and he has already realised that the items of perception are open to doubt through his "Demon of deception" analogy where he arrives at the point that things like not being able to tell dreaming from being awake or hallucination could be attributed to a malignant demon who is setting out to constantly deceive him.




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