Argument Analysis for First Meditation

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  • Topic: Dream, Definition, Meditations on First Philosophy
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  • Published : December 3, 2012
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Argument Analysis for First Meditation, PP.41-42
1.When we are dreaming, such particulars as these are not true: that we are opening our eyes, moving our head and extending our hands. (Assumption) 2.Things seen during the slumber are like painted images. (Assumption) 3.Painted images could only have been produced in the likeness of true things. (Assumption) 4.Therefore, the general things of painted images are true and exist. (Conclusion from 3) 5.The general things in dreams are not imaginary things, but are true and exist. (Conclusion from 2 and 4) 6.When painters are painting images, by means of bizarre form or even by creating utterly fictitious and false fashion, the color is true and exists. (Assumption) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7.In dreams, although the general things could be imaginary, certain other things which are even more simple and universal are true and exist. (Conclusion from 2 and 6)

In this part of First Meditation, Descartes tries to set up the argument that although there are many false inceptions and things in dreams, there must be some simple and universal things which are true. His idea is explanatory and interesting but bears some defects. So I would say his argument is not convincing enough. In the first place, the definition of dream is not clearly defined and the analogy between the things in dreams and the painted images is hard to accept. Therefore, he couldn’t reach his further conclusion. On one hand, painted images are created on real materials, like papers and colors. Painted images could be saved and protected. However, we couldn’t keep, save or touch dreams. Dreams don’t have a solid material to stick to. How should we define dreams? Descartes are not explaining these ambiguous concepts for dreams.
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