Descartes and Meditation Three Essay

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Descartes and Meditation Three


At the beginning of Meditation three, Descartes has made substantial progress towards defeating skepticism. Using his methods of Doubt and Analysis he has systematically examined all his beliefs and set aside those which he could call into doubt until he reached three beliefs which he could not possibly doubt. First, that the evil genius seeking to deceive him could not deceive him into thinking that he did not exist when in fact he did exist. Second, that his essence is to be a thinking thing. Third, the essence of matter is to be flexible, changeable and extended.
The next very important step for Descartes is to establish a criterion of certainty. By examining the truths which he discovered in
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He also knows for certain that various ideas appear before his mind. To work with Descartes has himself as a non-extended thinking thing and his ideas.
As the first “premise” of his proof Descartes makes a very important distinction between the various types of ideas. The first type of idea he discusses is ideas that are images of things. This type of idea, when thought of, is apprehended as an object of my thought, but there is something more embraced in the thought than merely the representation of the object. Now if these ideas are considered only in themselves, and are not referred to any object beyond them, they cannot, properly speaking, be false. This even applies to the will and affections, a second type of idea, for although I may desire objects that are wrong, it is still true that I desire them. The third type of idea is that of judgement. Descartes goal in this classification is to find in his mind which of the ideas are the proper bearers of truth and falsehood. Considered in themselves, ideas are not false nor are desires. The only place where mistakes can be made is in making judgements. As Descartes says, “And the chief and most common mistake which is to be found here consists in my judging that the ideas which are in me resemble, or conform to, things located outside me.” Descartes further classifies his ideas by their origin: those that appear…