Descartes Argument Analysis

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In defense of Descartes, the “Meditations on First Philosophy” attempts to explain what else, besides a thinking thing, that I am. However, this section, in the Second Meditation, is only attempting to explain “What else am I?”1 ex post facto the conclusion that I am “a thinking thing.”2 Consequently, this returns us to the perspectives of certainty problem that was part of the “linguistic convenience” argument. In essence, Descartes has not proved anything with precise certainty. I think that Descartes would agree with that statement and refer me back to the First Mediation where he states only “...from time to time I have found that the senses deceive, and it is prudent never to trust completely those who have deceived us only once.”3 …show more content…

This argument, however, can be easily refuted by the exposition in the opening of my essay were I explained that the Cogito, ergo sum argument was made in A Discourse on Method, and was not repeated in the “Meditations on First Philosophy”. This at least points to the realization that Descartes had no intention of the argument operating as a syllogism. This, however, does not completely dismiss the problem that I have with the argument. In Descartes: The Project of Pure Enquiry, Bernard Williams offers the best explanation, that embraces my concerns, about the problems associated with the hidden premise argument. When Descartes makes the essential claim that I am “a thinking thing,”4 what right to thinking has Descartes got? In other words, the most that Descartes could claim from “I think” is that “there is some thinking going on”5 Perhaps this objection becomes clearer if it is separated into two distinct expression. The first expression is that I am thinking, or as Descartes would say, “a thinking thing.”6 The second expression is “thinking is going on”.7 Both of these expressions display “possible states of affairs,” with “a thinking thing” being more substantial than “thinking is going

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