Descartes First Meditation Summary

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1. In Descartes' First Meditation, why does he set about doubting all of his knowledge? What is he hoping to achieve? Descartes mentions that several years have passed since he first realized how numerous were the false opinions that he had once taken to be true. He notes that the subsequent opinions built were suspect to doubt because of this. He says that he has gained his knowledge through the senses or through the senses. The senses are sometimes deceptive and it is prudent not to trust that which has deceived us. Descartes hopes to set a solid foundation of true knowledge that cannot be doubted. 2. In the First Meditation, Descartes provides two skeptical arguments. What are they, and what kind of knowledge claims does each argument call…show more content…
The first argument questions dreams which often draw upon our experiences gained through the senses. Descartes maintains that humans often confuse dreaming with being awake. Dreams call into question the knowledge gained through the senses. The second argument assumes that there is an omnipotent evil genius trying to deceive us. Anything can be called into doubt if one assumes that every idea is planted in our minds by some sort of powerful deceiver. The evil genius argument calls into question our ideas. 3. In the Second Meditation, Descartes argues that we can be certain of one thing. What does he claim we can know with certainty, and what is the reason he gives? Do you agree that we can know this with certainty? Descartes claims that the only thing that we can know for certainty is that we exist, and we exist because we are a thinking thing. Using the example of an evil genius trying to deceive us proves that we exist because we would have to exist to be deceived in the first place. The fact that we could come to this conclusion proves that we are thinking things. This concept from the second meditation is where the famous line “I think, therefore I am” comes from. I cannot see any flaw to this sort of logic. I think this about as close to certainty as one can get about

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