René Descartes Argument Against The Cartesian Circle

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Introduction: HE purpose of this essay is to argue that René Descartes’s response to philosophical scepticism does not commit the fallacy of circular reasoning. It will achieve this purpose by demonstrating that the potential problem known as the ‘Cartesian Circle’ arises from a misinterpretation of Descartes’s position. The outline of this essay is as follows. Firstly, it will explain Descartes’s response to scepticism and the Cartesian Circle. Secondly, this essay will pose an argument against the Cartesian Circle by properly defining clear and distinct ideas. Thirdly, it will consider a possible objection to this argument and counter this objection. Finally, this essay will conclude that Descartes’s response to scepticism is not circular. The Cartesian Circle: In his work Meditations on First Philosophy (1641), Descartes argues that scepticism is false because clear and distinct ideas (occasionally referred to as the ‘natural light’) are rationally indubitable.1 According to the traditional interpretation; this means that clear and distinct ideas are necessarily true. Descartes uses clear and distinct ideas to demonstrate that he exists. He reasons that even if a powerful demon has deceived him about basic truths, by the very fact that he is deceived, it…show more content…
Moreover, when a person currently perceives a clear and distinct idea, they cannot help but believe it. It is only upon reflection that a doubt about a clear and distinct idea can occur. However, when God is proved, this doubt is dispelled. This account is still circular because the necessary truthfulness of clear and distinct ideas have lost their justification for being true while they are currently being perceived. In other words, it seems that clear and distinct ideas are true when they are being perceived, merely because clear and distinct ideas are true when they are being

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