Philosophical Outlook in Rene Descartes' Essay, Through The Mediations

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Through The Mediations, Rene Descartes invites us along his path of thoughts as he develops his philosophical outlook on life. From the start, Descartes ponders the certainty of any knowledge he holds, as well as the soundness of its source. He questions his knowledge of anything and everything, even deeply questioning if he truly exists at all. The 17th century philosopher sought to distinguish how he knows what he does; ultimately challenging whether it is the senses or the mind that serves as the more desirable source of knowledge. Descartes believed that in order to truly make this discovery he would need to start from what he believed to be the foundation of things, removing all knowledge he believed to know up until this point and challenging the idea that it is our senses that justify the knowledge we hold. Ultimately through various arguments Descartes’s deemed the senses to be the more unreliable source for one to use to obtain knowledge of their surroundings and life in general. During the First Mediation, Descartes introduces the concept of dreaming to help test the certainty of his knowledge. He brings up the argument that while dreaming he is often led to believe that he is awake and a real life experience is occurring. He brings up one of his dreams in which he is sitting in his room viewing a fire and feeling its warmth. Descartes questions the reliability of his senses if it seems as though he is seeing, hearing and feeling when he is not actually awake.

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