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Discuss The Extent To Which Descartes Has Overcome His Doubts Of The F
Discuss the extent to which Descartes has overcome his doubts of the first Meditations
In Descartes meditations, Descartes begins what Bernard Williams has called the project of pure enquiry to discover an indubitable premise or foundation to base his knowledge on, by subjecting everything to a kind of scepticism now known as Cartesian doubt. This is known as foundationalism, where a philosopher basis all epistemological knowledge on an indubitable premise.
Within meditation one Descartes subjects all of his beliefs regarding sensory data and even existence to the strongest and most hyperbolic of doubts. He invokes the notion of the all powerful, malign demon who could be deceiving him regarding sensory experience and even his understanding of the simplest mathematical and logical truths in order to attain an indubitable premise that is epistemologically formidable. In meditation one Descartes has three areas of doubt, doubt of his own existence, doubt of the existence of God, and doubt of the existence of the external world. Descartes knowledge of these three areas are subjected to three types of scepticism the first where he believes that his senses are being deceived these senses played me false, and it is prudent never to trust entirely those who have once deceived us. The second of the forms of scepticism revolves around whether Descartes is dreaming or not I see so clearly that there are no conclusive signs by means of which one can distinguish between being awake and being asleep. The aforementioned malign demon was Descartes third method of doubt as he realised God would not deceive him.
Descartes search for an underlying foundational premise ends when he realises he exists, at least when he thinks he exists doubtless, then, that I exist and, let him deceive me as he may, he can never bring it about that I am nothing, so long as I shall be conscious that I am something. So that it must, in fine, be maintained, all things being maturely and carefully considered, that this proposition I am, I exist, is necessarily true each time it is expressed by me or conceived in my mind. This argument I think therefore I am is Descartes cogito argument as in Latin it is cogito ergo sum. The cogito argument raises some difficulties, as when thinking results in existence not thinking should therefore result in non-existence leaving the problem of returning to thought from non-existence. Descartes could however reply that the term thought includes the conceiving and perception of all sensory input which is constant, resulting with a human being who thinks non-stop from birth till death removing the problem of dropping out of existence periodically. Human beings are capable of simultaneous thought, this is best illustrated when a person is dreaming as the person will be receiving sensory data from both the external world and from the dream therefore the human is thinking on more than one level at a time which could result in there being two existences. A further Cartesian response could be that the level of thought or the amount of thought is irrelevant, all that is important is that the thought is being generated by the one individual, therefore it is the one individual that exists. It is seemingly impossible to criticise the cogito argument as every time it is presented to our mind we are forced to assent to it, it may be the case that this argument is infallible or at least indubitable, Descartes therefore has convincingly overcome his doubt of his own existence.
Now that Descartes realised that he was a thinking being he focused his efforts on trying to prove the existence of God for this Descartes has two arguments based on a priori reasoning, the Ontological argument and the Trademark argument.
Descartes first argument for the existence of God is known as the Trademark argument. The argument states that we all have the idea of God in our head (there is a real and positive idea of God or of a Being of supreme perfection to my mind) as we are not able to create the idea of a perfect Being this idea must have been ... more
Find essay on Human Nature Is Illustrated
Young goodman brown
Young Goodman Brown
"'Lo! There ye stand, my children,' said the figure, in a deep and solemn tone, almost sad, with its
despairing awfulness, as if his once angelis nature could yet mourn for our miserable race.
"Depending on one another's hearts, ye had still hoped, that virtue were not all a dream. Now ye
are undeceived! Evil is the nature of mankind. Evil must be your only happiness. Welcome, again,
my children, to the communion of your race!'"
The above quotation from Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown is of central importance in analyzing the attitudes and
ideas present throughout the story, though in a curious way. The quotation (and the story itself), on first reading,
seem superficially to portray a central character's loss of faith and the spiritual tragedy contained therein. Rereading,
however, reveals a more complex set of ideas, ones which neither fully condemn nor condone the strictly constructed
dichotomy of good and evil that Hawthorne employs again and again over the course of goodman Brown's journey.
I think Hawthorne had much more in mind than a mere outline of good and evil. His primary struggle in Young
Goodman Brown seems to be less with faith vs. the faithless void than with the points in between these states. The
story seems more about the journey through between two rigidly defined states than about good and evil. By
describing good and evil through heavy-handed metaphors and symbols, such as his wife's name and the satanic
communion he finds himself at in the forest, and then describing goodman Brown's inability to adapt his self-image to
the hypocrisy he finds, Hawthorne comments on the ultimate failure of such a rigidly proscribed formula for human
existence. At the same time that sin is described as a seething, pervasive hypocrisy, it is also seen as a mundane fact
of living; Hawthorne seems to forfeit ultimate clarity of message in order to concentrate more fully on the journey
Hawthorne's sense of irony and sarcasm is well illustrated in an episode like goodman Brown's loss of his wife, Faith.
Brown experiences several points in the forest where he wants to stop, yet he always continues, because he still has
Faith. When a pink ribbon flutters down to him, however, he goes half-mad and continues on to the communion, now
believing himself Faithless. Hawthorne's use of more easily interpreted incidents and symbols like these only
reinforce the idea for me that this is a story about much more than easy, clear divisions of human belief and behavior.
I think Hawthorne knowingly used symbols which are slightly amusing in their simplicity because he is commenting,
again, on the journey itself. His irony says that this is anything but an easy journey that starts out at dusk, made by a
man with a wife named Faith, who meets witches in the woods and witnesses the totally corrupt nature of all humanity
and then dies a lonely, tormented death. It's the perfect Christian fairy tale nightmare, and Hawthorne seems to have
used it for exactly this reason: the journey itself is never so easy. When Brown returns to his town and sees the
entire community involved in perfectly hypocritical activities as though nothing out of the ordinary is happening, I get
the sense that Hawthorne is yet again suggesting that none of those simple allegories, whether in favor of good or
evil, are sufficient to embody something as complex as faith. Hawthorne's humor is subtle, but I think he uses it to
talk successfully around the perimeter of the issue he wants to address instead of opting for total clarity.
Hawthorne uses many other dichotomous pairings to illustrate his ideas. Dark vs. light, uncertainty vs. safety, nature
vs. human, and fantasy vs. reality are employed to reinforce the idea that good and evil have been set up as strict
categories into which no one, not even the religious figures of the community, fit neatly. Is Hawthorne preaching a
more pliable attitude toward human thinking? Is he describing the hypocrisy which undoubtedly exists in the world
and then letting goodman Brown be a truly pious individual through his inability to accept what he sees in the forest?
Or is ... more
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