Epistemology Study Guide
1. How can the senses deceive us?
a. Our senses are how we perceive the world. Our eyes, nose, tongue, fingers, and ears feed raw information to our brain, which then turns it into information we can use. If we lose one of our senses, we lose that entire set of raw data. As such, we place incredible amounts of reliance on our senses. The only way our senses can deceive us is if they give us the wrong data, which then becomes wrong information. If life is an illusion, then our senses could be getting the information it’s getting from anywhere.
2. How widespread is this deception?
b. If our senses are deceiving us, then our entire worlds are false. Every person, except for the individual, would not be real. Therefore, there could only be one person in existence and that person is living this illusion. In fact, I could not be typing this at all.
3. Are there any tests by which you can tell that you are not dreaming now? c. Yes. If your life is a dream, then there’s nothing in this world that would convince you otherwise. The world would be your creation. The only way to test if everything was a dream or not would be to die.
4. Why does Descartes conclude that there are no certain tests? d. How useful would a test be if you’re dreaming? If your entire life has been a dream, then you wouldn’t know what reality really was. Therefore, things like hurting yourself, falling, or any other method to wake yourself up wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t work because your dream has become your reality.
5. Is Descartes right that you cannot doubt your own existence? e. No, people can definitely doubt their existence. However, if they don’t believe that they exist, they would be driven insane.
6. What happens to the properties of the wax when you bring it close to the fire? f. When the wax is brought towards a flame, it changes. The odor of flowers vanishes, the color and shape changes, is...
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