Essay on Descartes Knowledge

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Descartes Knowledge

The question of our existence in reality is a question which philosophers have tackled throughout time. This essay will look at the phrase, cogito ergo sum or I think therefore I am, a phrase brought about by Rene Descartes. This phrase is the backbone of Descartes whole philosophy of our existence in reality. As long as we are thinking things, we exist.
When we look at this approach to our existence we must first deny that any sensory data that we receive is believable or it is conceivable that it is false. This means that we can’t really know that anything we perceive through our senses is actually an accurate interpretation of reality. After we’ve established that our senses aren’t totally reliable we then have to
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A thinking thing really has a very vague description and cannot really be applied to us as beings which we perceive. So what is the connection between what we believe to be us and what is us? Descartes would say we have experiences of what we think we are. For example, even though our senses aren’t reliable, when we see things we still have the experience of seeing that thing. Even if in a dream, an apple is still experienced as our definition of an apple. An apple in a dream will still look and smell the same as an apple to us in wakefulness because the experience is the same. Because we really don’t definitely know if we are awake or asleep at any time we can only say that the experience of the apple is certain in our minds. So we are thinking things which are constantly having experiences of what we think is reality or the world without. These experiences are what define the outside world, if in fact there is an outside world to us. Descartes says that all of these things aren’t learnt but that we know them a priori or without experience. Descartes gives the example of a ball of wax. When this ball of wax is heated it becomes soft and changes shape. When it is heated more it becomes a liquid and some may even evaporate but we know as it is in us to know that it is the same piece of wax that it was to start with. Even though the description of this wax has changed we still know as an a priori
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