Meditations on First Philosophy Essay examples

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“Cogito ergo sum;” I think therefore I am. This philosophical statement stimulated a renaissance in the field of philosophy, creating modern Western philosophy as is known today. This important notion was dictated by Rene Descartes in his 1641 metaphysics work, Mediations on First Philosophy, and influenced all modern philosophical works written after Descartes revolutionary achievement. This work was written at a time when modern physics was being developed as a mathematization of nature. The principles of metaphysics contain in Meditations were developed in order to serve as the basis for this new system of physics. In it, Descartes refutes many Aristotelian beliefs that were popular and accepted by the clergy for nearly the entirety of…show more content…
In order to accomplish this, the meditator doubts away his body, the universe, and every other preconceived belief he had “…because undermining the foundations will cause whatever has been built upon them to crumble of its own accord, I will attack straightaway those principles which supported everything I once believed” (Descartes, 18).This allows him to seek sturdier foundations for his knowledge, one that he knows he to be true, as they cannot be doubted away if Cartesian skepticism is employed correctly. Crucial to the use of this method is trying to find doubt in one’s beliefs, as if there is any doubt whatsoever then that belief or opinion could be false. With that in mind, the meditator acknowledges that his senses can be deceived. Although most of the time his sensory knowledge is true, he notes that while dreaming, he is often convinced that what he senses is real. As he reflects on this, he remarks, “I see so plainly that there are no definitive signs by which to distinguish being awake from being asleep” (Descartes, 19). The sensations he feels and the images he sees in dreams are all derived from real life experiences. The narrator links this to art; the composite image consists of numerous real things. He concludes that although he can doubt complex, composite ideas, such as
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