Hyatt Descartes

Topics: Skepticism, Epistemology, Philosophy Pages: 4 (883 words) Published: December 26, 2014
Linda Hyatt
Professor Kelley
30 November 2014
Descartes Project
Descartes was a well-known French philosopher, some would say a scientist, others a mathematician. Truth was he was really a little of each, however the things he is known most for is being the doubter. Descartes used the method of doubt to defeat skepticism on its very own turf. During this essay I will be explaining the process by which Descartes uses skepticism to refute skepticism, the first principles he was lead to, and lastly why it was so important to accomplish this project.

Descartes hoped to eliminate anything that was not able to be proven a fact he wanted to have a solid foundation of knowledge. He did not believe that it was practical to force himself to no longer believe things he had been taught his entire life. “So, he developed three methods of doubt for which he could call all of his beliefs into question” (First Meditation) “His tactic was to show that, despite the best skeptical arguments, there is at least one intuitive truth that is beyond all doubt and from which the rest of human knowledge can be deduced”(Descartes). This is precisely the project of Descartes’ seminal work, Meditations on First Philosophy. The basic strategy of 's Descartes method of doubt is to defeat skepticism on its own ground. Begin by doubting the truth of everything—not only the evidence of the senses and the more extravagant cultural presuppositions, but even the fundamental process of reasoning itself. If any particular truth about the world can survive this extreme skeptical challenge, then it must be truly indubitable and therefore a perfectly certain foundation for knowledge. The First Meditation, then, is an extended exercise in learning to doubt everything that I believe, considered at three distinct levels: Perceptual Illusion, The Dream Problem, A Deceiving God (Kemerling,2011).

Descartes argued that the existence of reflective thought...
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