Reflection on Discourse on the Method

Topics: Existence of God, Mind, Existence Pages: 3 (952 words) Published: May 1, 2006
Descartes is one of the most important western philosophers of the past few centuries. His greatest and most famous work is Discourse on the Method. In this book Descartes questions his own existence, and knowledge that he obtained from different sources. Main arguments of the book are well developed by a logical pattern and supported by examples. However, closely investigating this work, readers can come across many controversies and disputations. Being a well educated person, Descartes finds his knowledge unsatisfying due to its uncertainty. He profoundly admires mathematics, but did not perceive its higher use since its applications lie in the applied sciences. However major part of his philosophy was based on problem solving skills obtained during years of education. This is most evident when Descartes sets guidelines for his project in part II. First, one cannot accept anything as true unless it's been proven true. Second, separation of any given matter into the greatest possible number of divisions for an easier analysis. Third, starting with the simplest of objects one must slowly progress toward increasingly complex objects of study. Finally, the conclusion must be circumspect in order to be sure that nothing has been left out. The second and third guidelines are directly related to problem solving skills in mathematics, such that one must break problems down into smaller pieces and solve each piece separately. Hence, an individual is working his or her way to the solution. He failed to realize that in many cases education is not supposed to be applied directly to life, but must be used as guide. For instance, sociology is a discipline where you learn how people think, act, and their motives behind their actions. However, this science teaches you how to deal with people. Another predicament is in part III where Descartes proposes four maxims. Maxims are moral code to guide his actions, which he will follow while he undergoes his period of skeptical...
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