Explain the Method of Doubt in the First meditation
In part one, Descartes writes that on many occasions, he has believed in a particular thing to be true, only for it to, proving to be untrue later. However, his age (he notes “even from my youth”) has taught him to think deeply on his past errors, that led to the believed things that proved falsehoods, and those mistakes will be not only a lesson, but will also vouch for future believes by laying a strong foundation from where he can get arm-length proof that will turn out to be really true, the way he has pegged them to be. Since Descartes is old and has got no emotions, he will reason appropriately because (as he makes us believe) emotions interfere will one’s reasoning ability.
Descartes is in a retirement age, free of leisure and he has learnt that his past opinions may tamper with his current ones and thus he discards them.
In point two, Descartes sears into our minds that we should not make our judgments based specific beliefs, but we should instead base our beliefs on (if) we discover what turns our beliefs into falsehood.
In the third point, Descartes talks of the five human senses that we use to make our judgments. The five human senses are smelling, vision, feeling by touch and by tasting, and discerning by hearing. However, even though these five senses are vital in helping us make us judgments, Descartes cautions us against our over-reliance in them since they cannot vouch for the accuracy of our judgments: they can in real sense, deceive us when making judgments. Therefore, high esteem should be withdrawn from the five senses, rather as a precaution, when in the process of making judgments.
Descartes uses the fourth point to conversely describe his third point. He notes that the human senses can deceive, that is conjure unreal images in our minds. He gives an example of when one is sleeping and the mind tends to make (him) believe that “they are monarch when they are in greatest poverty…clothed in [gold]…when destitute of any covering. Therefore, the deception of the five senses to us has got a vital significance in that it is a medium of learning and through it. Even though he asserts that the deception of senses to us can make us learn, he nonetheless never puts the senses at the helm as would be in a case of an insane person.
In the fifth point, Descartes notes that many a times when he is dreaming, he envisions himself in a real-life situation, that is, the things he sees in the dreams appear “actually” really. He stresses that, regardless of the nightly episodes that dreams take us to, it isn’t much off the track since those very dreams are drawn from real life activities such as when he dreams he’s dressed and by the fireside while in real sense he’s sleeping soundly naked in bed.
The sixth point reaffirms the fifth one with reinforcement. He states that non-imaginary things such as eyes and a head are combined with imaginary things to bring out the image of factual things. He gives an example of a painter, stating that even though they may be recognized by painting things that could only be conjured by the mind; these paintings are catalyzed by real things. Thus he explains,”…cannot bestow upon them natures absolutely new…at least the colors of which this is composed is real.”
Point seven is a conclusion of the sixth point where the writer states that, he gives no credence to images that are conjured in the mind but he highly regards the constituents that compose those imaginary images. Examples of these components, and which are real, are time and time.
Some researches based on astronomy and medicine among others may be distrusted but not things whose components are plain such as geometry and arithmetic. However, even those plain things can be distrusted through when he terms as a powerful God. Distrusting the presence of God just serves to increase out probability of being tricked mainly because an ideal being could not create our inadequate senses. Types of thinking and thus we should refrain ourselves from such causes that may form the basis of the deception. Also the senses should not be used to determine the scope of one’s knowledge or abilities. Nevertheless, everyone’s knowledge comes from the senses. Lastly, Descartes states that certainty cannot be vouched by oneself.
What is its goal and how does it go about it?
Descartes teaches us that some actual things are realities that cannot be disclaimed if oneself goes ahead to methodically reflect on some specific issues. Descartes goes about it by using the human senses, perception and imagination.
What are the arguments doubting classes of opinions?
First is to deem a falsehood anything with niggle of doubt. Since it’s not easy to throw customary opinions from one’s realm of thinking, it’s good to deem them false. Instead of God, it’s an evil spirit that is responsible for deception. Doubting absolutely everything is a cushion against deception.
Is Descartes’ argument believable, why or why not?
Some are believable while others can neither be disclaimed nor supported. Where Descartes says that past opinions should not be used while making new judgments, it is believable. It is also believable that with age, (just like he says “even from my youth”) comes experience. Therefore where one’s judgment will turn out a falsehood once, there l be more than thinking over and over again when in a similar situation the next time (Janet). Anyway, sages said, one bitten twice shy. On the case of an evil spirit deceiving Descartes, since there is no hard evidence on that claim, it can neither be supported nor disclaimed and when it comes to God, we hope that absolutely all goodness comes from God. However, such a claim may be based on one’s status of religion.
What is his project fundamentally?
Descartes offers his philosophical ideologies on how he bases his opinion methodically by applying the five senses, imagination, perspective and past experience to come to a doubtless belief that will not later turn out a falsehood.
What does it tell us about life and philosophy?
More firm decisions can be reached upon when the human senses, imagination and perspective are combined and they are more positive with age and more accurate when one reviews the reasons that contributed to a past mistake. As Descartes notes form his explanations, we learn from our mistakes and not triumphs.
Janet, Broughton. Descartes’s method of doubt. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2002.