Reality vs. Fantasy

Topics: Existence, Critical thinking, Universal quantification Pages: 3 (1050 words) Published: April 30, 2005
René Descartes, author of "Meditation 1", writes how he must erase everything he had ever learned and thought to be true and must "begin again from the first foundations" (222). One may ask how Descartes came to this conclusion. The answer is that of he "realized how many were the false opinions that in [his] youth [he] took to be true, and thus how doubtful were all the things that [he] subsequently built upon these opinions" (222). This change was to take place at the perfect time in Descartes life however, he wasted much time waiting for that moment Descartes decided to simply let go of it. He started questioning everything he ever believed in. Descartes raised one specific question: How does one justify being awake from dreaming? He gives an example stating "that I am here, clothed in my dressing gown, seated at the fireplace, when in fact I am lying undressed between he blankets!" (222). Descartes describes how a dream may feel so real, one might actually think their dream is in fact reality. He goes on further saying "plainly that there are no definite signs to distinguish being awake from being asleep that I am quite astonished, and this astonishment almost convinces me that I am sleeping" (222). This all lead to Descartes coming up with a theory that "perhaps we do not even have these hands, or any such body at all" (223). He started questioning the existence of God as well, wondering whether or not he existed or if the heavens and earth were actually there. More questioning followed asking himself "how do I know that I am not deceived every time I add two and three or count the sides of a square or perform an even simpler operation…" (203). What Descartes became certain of was that an evil genius "as clever and deceitful as he is powerful, who had directed his entire effort to misleading me" (224) and a conclusion was made that he would "regard [himself] as having no hands, no eyes, no flesh, no blood, no senses, but as nevertheless...
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