Descartes Essay example

757 Words4 Pages

Is our education complete once a degree has been earned? Have we learned all there is to know? Can we be sure of what we have come to know? Only a completely self-assured person might answer yes to these questions, but for Rene Descartes (1596-1650) the completion of his formal education left him feeling and thinking he was still ignorant about the certainties of human experience and existence. This prominent Renaissance philosopher conquered the world of uncertainty in a work written in the 17th century. Mr. Descartes', Discourse on Method, quelled the skeptics with the assertion, "I think, therefore I am". Most important to Descartes, however, was the method for which he was able to arrive at this axiom. The
…show more content…
Only know that which is "clearly and distinctly to my mind". Second, to "divide each difficulty I should examine into as many parts as possible." The third stage he set out to organize his thoughts into the easiest to the most complex, therefore, creating an orderly examination of the "objects of knowledge." Finally, critical reviews of the "links in [the] argument" furthered his examination of the entire puzzle. Mr. Descartes' methodology was paramount to the period in which it was born. However, it's important to note that Descartes didn't think we could, as humans, understand all existence or phenomena. We cannot come to know God's purposes. Mr. Descartes was optimistic of the fact that all men are capable of rational thought or reasoning. He took to a quiet environment and contemplated the serious problem for which he wanted to reconcile within himself; ho can man learn knowledge. Facilitating the process of reason is the element Descartes terms, "the natural light of the mind." He argues that if we are to attain axiomatic truths we must be free of "precipitancy and prejudice", whereby reason, the natural light of the mind, shall guide us to the certainties which define our existence. Descartes' methodology was realized through his Metaphysical Doctrine, which asserted man and god's existence. In deep mediation the philosopher set out to deny everything which his senses told him. Descartes

More about Descartes Essay example

Get Access