Descartes 's Meditations On First Philosophy

2099 Words Sep 11th, 2016 9 Pages
First published in Latin in 1641, René Descartes philosophical study, entitled Meditations On First Philosophy, poses a question that continues to be both continously relevant, and hotly debated, in the field of philosophy. One of Descartes main queries in his meditations is as follows; how can we be fully assured that we know anything at all? Descarets theorises that, whilst not all knowledge may provide probable doubt, we can never be fully certain that there is no room for doubt, and if we cannot be certain of our knowledge, we therefore cannot truly know anything. With this lack of foundational certainty for knowledge, Descartes then states that the logical next step would be to doubt every single thing that we believe, as without certainty, nothing can constitute knowledge. Certainty plays a pivotal and yet simple role in Descartes argument for global skepticism, yet its role is one that evolves throughout his meditations. Descartes starts off saying that only one thing is truly certain - the fact that nothing is certain – and from there goes on to explore what we can and cannot be certain of.

Descartes first meditation, subtitled, Of the things which may be brought within the sphere of the doubtful, is, as the name suggests, an exploration of what can be believed for certain – which, according to Descartes, is essentially nothing at all - in regard to our beliefs and assumed 'knowledge '. He begins by putting forward the argument that, having believed many…
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