Analyzing the Surprise Ending in Descartes' 'Discourse on the Method and the Meditations'

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Surprise Ending in Descartes In the book Discourses on the Method and the Meditations, author Rene Descartes famously questions the existence of humanity. His most famous quotation, the one for whom he is most remembered is "I think therefore I am" (Descartes 11). According to this idea, so long as a being has the ability to think then they existed. Animals have brains and therefore they must exist. In order to truly, exist, to be a thinking entity, a person or organism must utilize the ability granted to them by their mind. This is the focus of much of this text, the nature of existence and the line between what is true and what we only imagine or perceive to be true. For the majority of the text, the philosopher asks questions in trying to formulate his own identity and indeed whether or not he existed as all. It would be assumed that the end of the book would be a conclusion of this internal dialogue where Descartes definitively states his position on human existence. However, Descartes instead devotes the end of the text to a wholly new concept: namely he applies the question of existence to a being above humanity. At the end of the text, instead of continuing on with these questions Descartes instead discusses the idea of God and whether or not He exists. At the time of the Royal Society which Descartes was a member of, the researchers and philosophers were trying to understand everything about the world, something which actually is impossible to do. Renee Descartes

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