Descartes' Meditations, Senses, and Rationalism Thesis

Total Length: 1160 words ( 4 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 1

Page 1 of 4

If this is true, then thoughts that mankind form -- principles of morality and knowledge of a rational life -- are determined solely by reason because the Creator allowed Man to have that capability which then must mean that the capability produces truth. To prove these ideas, Cartesian Rationality asks the reader to take formal steps into the manner of analysis and development within the ideological process. In six steps then, we can review Descartes' view on how it is a rationalization that uncovers the truth of the Universe. Because so much of the basic principles of Cartesian Rationalism are based on the actual premise of doubt, it is understandable that Descartes begins his Meditations on the sense of doubt as a precursor to thought, with the manner of gleaning information:

"All that I have, up to this moment, accepted as possessed of the highest truth and certainty, I received either from or through the senses. I observed, however, that these sometimes misled us; and it is the part of prudence not to place absolute confidence in that by which we have even once been deceived" (Meditations 1:3, hereafter M).

Justification of Viewpoint -- Even when Descartes doubts his senses, arguing that they occasional mislead us, or more truthfully, that we are unable to uncover the true meaning at that moment. Descartes notes that his senses have, indeed, deceived him previously -- sensory information is often fluid (e.g. he judged a stick poked into the water was bent, when in fact it was straight). Thus, there are indeed cogent reasons for his disbelief, which he calls methodic doubt, or a skeptical hypothesis. For example, Descartes discusses our thoughts while dreaming as being false in fact, but true in form -- thus our own innate ability to render matter unnecessary and move into the metaphysical and explanatory of what is true and reasonable to the individual:

"Let us suppose, then, that we are dreaming, and that all these particulars -- namely, the opening of the eyes, the motion of the head, the forth- putting of the hands -- are merely illusions; and even that we really possess neither an entire body nor hands such as we see. Nevertheless it must be admitted at least that the objects which appear to us in sleep are, as it were, painted representations which could not have been formed unless in the likeness of realities; and, therefore, that those general objects, at all events, namely, eyes, a head, hands, and an entire body, are not simply imaginary, but really existent.
For, in truth, painters themselves, even when they study to represent sirens and satyrs by forms the most fantastic and extraordinary, cannot bestow upon them natures absolutely new, but can only make a certain medley of the members of different animals; or if they chance to imagine something so novel that nothing at all similar has ever been seen before, and such as is, therefore, purely fictitious and absolutely false, it is at least certain that the colors of which this is composed are real. And on the same principle, although these general objects, viz. A body], eyes, a head, hands, and the like, be imaginary, we are nevertheless absolutely necessitated to admit the reality at least of some other objects still.....

Have Any Questions? Our Expert Writers Can Answer!

Need Help Writing Your Essay?