Decartes' Meditations 1 and 2

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In Decartes’ meditations the meditator reflects on his thoughts. The meditator thinks about where his thoughts have come from and if the origins of these thoughts are reliable or if they have been all based on false ideas. With this doubt building up inside, the meditator attempts to build his ideas from the ground up. In meditation 1 the meditator is considering all things that can be called into doubt. He reflects on all his thoughts and realizes they all can be called into doubt and therefore starts arguing these points. In meditation 2, the mediator takes what he has learned from mediation 1 and keeps on building his beliefs. He states that there is one thing he knows for certain and that is that “I exist.” return, calls all other things into doubt. He first asks himself “what can I know for certain?” Once this question is answered, this will be his foundation for a whole new set of beliefs. The meditator’s first argument is the argument of illusion. He states that everything he knows he has learned from his senses. The senses for the meditator, and most people, have deceived before whether it is smelling something that really isn’t what you think it is, or seeing something far away and getting closer and it is not what you thought it was. The meditator thinks that if his senses have deceived him once, then they could be fooling him all the time. After simmering the thought, he concludes that his senses only deceive him when it comes to small or far away objects. The meditator then brings in the fact that insane people have these deceiving moments a lot which makes them considered insane. Insane people have very wildly insane beliefs about large present matters. Then it is as if the meditator has a feeling that if his senses deceive him like that, then maybe he could be insane which concludes all your beliefs are subject to doubt. However, after contemplating this argument of illusion and insanity, Decartes dismisses it because it is insane.

I disagree with Decartes in the first argument. I do not think that one can dismiss this argument on the fact that it is insane. How do you know it is insane? Maybe we are the insane ones and that is a perfectly normal argument so to us it seems insane but really it is normal. Yes, our senses deceive us often and we come to realize they are but I agree with the argument. I believe that if our senses deceive us sometimes, they could be deceiving us all the time. It is just as possible for our senses to be fooling us all the time and those times we think it is are just things we have never experienced before. I just believe that this is a very good argument and dismissing it because it is “insane” isn’t a good enough reason.

The meditator’s second argument is the argument of “dreaming.” In this argument he explains that, like he claimed about his senses in his first argument, he is fooled by his dreams all the time. This argument is different than his argument about his senses because he is fooled by his dreams about large and present matters. The meditator believes that there are no definite signs by which no one can distinguish dreaming and the waking experience. He takes his current state for example. He is for certain he is awake sitting by the fire, meditating on these arguments, but he realized he has had dreams of the same thing and was fully convinced he was experiencing it, when really he was dreaming it. The meditator comes to the conclusion that all his beliefs about large and present matters could be false. Decartes objects this by saying that dreams are discontinuous and when you are awake you are more persistent. Decartes goes on to claim “perhaps we have no such body at all.” Decartes believes that if we are really dreaming all the time, the things in our dreams must be based on real things in real life. Decartes believes that these things have to exist somewhere in order for us to see them in our dreams. Now Decartes says that maybe there aren’t things such as...
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