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Descartes Argument For External Worlds Essay

1146 words - 5 pages

In Rene Descartes Meditation on First Philosophy, Descartes has cast a net of doubt on everything that he knows using three main arguments. In order to know something to be certain and true, he must get rid of the skeptical hypotheses to find truths that one simply cannot doubt. In order to fully overcome these doubts that he casts in Meditation I, he must analyze and show that he could be certain of the existence of the material world, despite the dreaming and demon arguments, which can be seen in the Sixth Meditation. He methodically gets to this by first considering the possible causes of material objects followed by the nature of these material objects and which attributes they possess. ...view middle of the document...

If this is the only possible way for our ideas to manifest, then there is an evidently ideas of material objects, then there must be material objects.
To do this he must discredit three main arguments to the cause of his ideas of material objects, god, himself, or another skeptical being, not god or himself, like the demon deceiver. He begins with the idea of himself. He cannot change nor create material ideas; he does not believe he is in charge of things in the world that is fixed beyond his ability to change. His sensory experiences are vivid enough that he cannot recreate in his imagination that in turn, coupled with the previous point, he is not actively constructing any part of the world but is only a passive participant to a previously constructed set of ideas. He also discredits the argument that there could be something in himself that is creating the active element of his perception. He states that things exist only with the addition that there is a presupposed mind, where other things can exist independently. His thoughts are dependent on this ‘mind”, which with out it he would have no beliefs. This in turn says that his experiences are derived from what produces his thoughts, which only in the mind could be his will, which Descartes has already proven that ideas come separately from. Descartes uses this to say that something other than himself are the cause of the idea of material objects.
The argument that god is the creation of our ideas of material objects begs the question of his perfection. Descartes has stated that god is not a deceiver, because he is supremely perfect which would in turn eliminate the ability to deceive. Our natural inclinations, like touching a hot stove and instantly releasing our grasp, seem to be independent of a supreme being and are independent from his divine order, and then consequently objects exist in an independent nature of extended ideas. If a clock is constructed so that it never tells the right time then the blame is on the clockmaker for having made the terrible clock. If as a person we are mind-independent, extended objects, than we should be right at least once, or “tell the right time” at least once if God, this supreme and infinite being is our creator. This, coupled with the ultimate deceiver...

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