Descartes' Meditations

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Meditations Study Questions
1. Explain Descartes’ method of doubt. What is Descartes purpose in exercising this method? Descartes’ method of doubt is a method of being skeptical about the truth of beliefs. It aims to find things that cannot be doubted 2. Why can’t Descartes be certain about beliefs he acquires through the evidence of the senses? The reason why Descartes cannot be certain of beliefs he’s obtained through his senses is because senses might easily be deceived by someone else. This is where the demon comes in, whereby Descartes brings up the possibility of being fed information from an outside source that he does not know of. 3. Why can’t Descartes be certain about mathematical beliefs like the belief that 2+2=4? The reason for this is because Descartes’ method is broken into four “steps,” in which he would break down the math problem into simpler terms that he knows is true and thus work his way up to get to 2+2=4. 4. What belief(s) does Descartes ultimately identify as indubitable? 5. Why can’t an evil deceiver deceive Descartes about his belief that he thinks?

“I think, therefore I am” is the popular saying that comes from Descartes. What Descartes means by this is that

6. How does Descartes build up from the foundation of indubitable beliefs? 7. How does Descartes argue for the existence of a good God? Deception does not seem to line up with the universal idea that God is good. 8. Given the existence of a good God, how does Descartes justify his beliefs based on reason and on the senses?
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