Comparing Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy and Plato's The Republic

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In the field of philosophy there can be numerous answers to a general question, depending on a particular philosopher's views on the subject. Often times an answer is left undetermined. In the broad sense of the word and also stated in the dictionary philosophy can be described as the pursuit of human knowledge and human values. There are many different people with many different theories of knowledge. Two of these people, also philosophers, in which this paper will go into depth about are Descartes and Plato. Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy and Plato's The Republic are the topics that are going to be discussed in this paper. In Meditations, Descartes brings doubt to everything he believes because it is human nature…show more content…
Descartes also finds that anything that exists physically is false, even including his own body. The only things we should trust are those beliefs that can be held up to rational scrutiny. Thus Descartes doubts everything but himself, he feels himself is the only thing in this life which cannot be proven false. He states that if he had no knowledge of himself than nothing can be certain. If he himself can doubt than he must exist and in cannot be proven false. Another proof that he exists is that in order to be deceived one must be able to exist. Descartes states in his famous quote, "I think, therefore I am." What was just explained above is Descartes first step to gaining knowledge, that is to build on what you know is certain and use yourself as the foundations. Now his second step he tries to show how we know bodies through reason and now through our senses. He uses a piece of wax to demonstrate this theory. A piece of wax place by a fire will in time change form and shape and thus lose all its specific properties, yet it is still known as wax. In order to understand what wax is you must be able to know it in all its forms and anticipate its changes. But Descartes argues that the shapes and forms that the wax could take are infinite. Thus, one can only know what an object is through understanding, rather than

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