Rationality of Belief in an External World

1973 WordsFeb 17, 20188 Pages
The philosophers of Enlightenment had discussed many important issues in the late 17th and 18th century. One of the significant subjects that they debated about was different opinions on the rationality of belief in an external world. Whether we are surrounded by external objects or not and if this is the case how we know this are the kinds of question they tried to find answers. Descartes has serious doubts on the testimony of senses, and this refers doubts about an external world. While Hume thinks that our beliefs on an external world is not justified, Leibniz believes that the universe exists out of ourselves by monads programmed by God. Besides, Kant thinks that our mind is the thing that gives meaning to objects, whereas Locke is more realist and thinks that external objects are giving mental content to our minds. This paper will trace the discussion among the five philosophers on debatable issue of external world’s existence and its relation to mind. To begin with, Descartes holds Cartesian skepticism that doubts the trueness of every past and present opinions, including the ones we gain by sensation. He believes that our sense organs can deceive us not only about the external world, but the trueness of our beliefs as well. Descartes states in his Sixth Meditation that faculty of sensation is a sort of passive activity that receives sensorial ideas from something else than itself. He examines what kind of thing can contain such sensory ideas or holds
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