Is Descartes' evil demon thought experiment a stronger argument for global skepticism than his dreaming argument? If yes, explain why; if no, explain why not.

Topics: Deception, Mind, The Sandman Pages: 4 (1127 words) Published: May 9, 2009
IS DESCARTES' EVIL DEMON THOUGHT EXPERIMENT A STRONGER ARGUMENT FOR GLOBAL SCEPTICISM THAN HIS DREAMING ARGUMENT? IF YES, EXPLAIN WHY; IF NO, EXPLAIN WHY NOT.

Descartes defined global skepticism as all of our experiences, thoughts and everything we know to be true as dubious and deceptive. Therefore we are constantly being deceived and what we perceive to be true may not be true at all. In this essay I will attempt to show how Descartes's dreaming argument and evil demon argument justifies global scepticism and which of the two is a stronger and more convincing argument.

According to Descartes, we rely on our senses to determine what is most true and many of the decisions we make are based on our senses and feelings. However, our senses can deceive us, so what's not to say that our senses are not deceiving us all of the time. Or if what our senses tell us is supposedly true most of the time, how are we able to differentiate between when we are being deceived and when we are not? Bearing this in mind it is safe to say that if our senses can deceive us, even once, it is unwise to trust and rely on them. (Descartes, _Introduction to Philosophy,_ 2009)

We then have to ask ourselves that if we cannot trust our senses, what can we rely on and trust to not deceive us. We should then take into consideration the fact that even though our senses can be deceptive, more often than not we can rely on them. Therefore we should still trust our senses but at the same time remain weary of the risk of possible deception.

This brings us to the evil demon argument. What if our senses, thoughts, instincts, perceptions and everything that we believe to supposedly be true has been deliberately placed in our minds by some evil entity that has manipulated us into believing those things? According to Descartes's argument, it is possible that we are being controlled by an evil demon that has deceived us into believing everything that we have come to know as being true: from...

Bibliography: Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, _Introduction to Philosophy_, 2009
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