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Ideals of Fantasy and Reality According to Descarte and Hume

This paper considers what is real and what is fantasy by understanding the ideals of philosophers such as Descarte and Hume. Bibliography cites seven sources.

The reality of croquet and the ever moving hoops

To become like Alice in wonderland, to seek that which only exists in the mind of our imagination is the dream of every person to bring forth what is not real and make it real. The mind is a complex place, by understanding the attitudes and aspects of individuals we are able to understand that the imagination is fuelled by the Will and that the will is fed by the imagination.

When looking at the world as if it was a croquet game in Alice and wonderland we can argue quite easily that life is a mutable role in the ideology of the philosophers, by looking at several aspects and views of the great philosophers we can see and determine what is reality and what is not. This therefore provides us with the ideal proof that what we believe is real and what we do not believe does not exist.

In the universe we know that there is thought and matter. The paradigm that belies dualism is a single idea; why should reality need to be only one of these aspects. In duality there is the argument that the ideas of the mind, and that the physical world of the matter are both equally real.

Therefore, both the mind and the body are rea Descartes set about resolving the conflict in materialism. As a French rationalist he can be seen as a supporter of the idea of dualism, this can be seen as the metaphysical philosophical idea that both of these different elements, matter (or bodies) as well as ideas (or the mind) are both as real as each other (Rozemond, 1998).

In considering the manifestation of matter, or body, Descartes uses the example of a wax ball. There are physical aspects of the wax ball that are noted, these include the texture, colour and general properties of the wax ball (Rozemond, 1998).

The wax is then held by the fire, and it changes, with changes in the physical properties, the shape, texture, colour and even smell change, but the physical substance is still wax (Rozemond, 1998). The different physical properties have all changed, and as such for wax to remain wax there needs to be some sort of content, this, Descartes argues, is the idea of the wax (Rozemond, 1998).

This consideration also argues that human senses can be mislead. This is seen when there are individuals close and far away, with the difference in size seen by the eyes, the same may be seen when we look at lines that are parallel, such as a railway track, and these lies will appear to get closer further into the distance. Therefore, our senses may not be trusted, but it is our ideas, our mind that tells us the man is smaller because he its further away, or that the tracks are really parallel.

If we then look to the idea of perception, Descartes also argued that this could be deceived. When an individual perceives the physical, it is senses that they are relying on to tell us what we perceived, then he also sees it as possible for a 'evil demon' to deceive us by fooling our senses or controlling what it is we perceive (Rozemond, 1998).

The subject now gets relatively confused, as if a demon may be able to deceive or mislead perceptions, then they may also be able to do the same to the way we perceive our ideas, and the certainty with which we view those ideas. This means that if we can be deceived we cannot be certain of our own ideas, and as such it is there is the question of how we can be at all certain of the existence of our own minds (Rozemond, 1998).

It is this that leads us to the well-known phrase of 'I think therefore I am'. Descartes considered what maybe occurring when we think, and when we 'think we are thinking'. In this the assumptions must be that we are either right or we are wrong in our assumption.

If the assumption is right, then we do not have a problem, however, if the assumption is wrong, then even with the wrong assumption, the consideration of the fact means that he is thinking even if it is in an incorrect manner, and therefore " Cogito, ergo sum," or, "I think, therefore I am" (Rozemond, 1998). This can be seen as a very functionalist approach.

There have been many philosophical views regarding realty and how we relate to it. After all we only have our own perception, brought to use through our own senses to guide us and give us the clues that we need to make the differentiation between what is real and what is imaginary.

In today's world there are many more complications than were seen in former times, when the well-known philosophers were theorising. Aristotle did not have the deal with radio or newspaper, just as Hobbes did not have to contend with the illusions and imaginary world of the television and cinema.

However, if we look to the more modern philosophers, those that have had the opportunity to consider the physical and the virtual realties, then we have some interesting, and very strong theories, such as that of Jean Baudrillard in his theory of 'hyper-reality'.

When we look at this idea it is apparent that the influences are greater then simply the philosophical, there are knock on effects to the way in which we may view society and its development, and how we, as individuals, as well as a society are influenced by the literature.

If we look at the ideas of Hume and the idea of the immortal soul along with the existence of god we have a different idea.

If we look at Hume arguments we see that there is a clear arguments that there is no proof of God. As rational men, all assumptions should be made on a logical assessment. The knowledge that we have is all based on impressions of experience or on ideas which are merely shallow reflections of experience (Plantinga, 2001). The experience may be such as the sight of a patch of blue Prussian, the audible experience of middle C. played on an oboe or the experience of a flush of anger, the ideas will be those of the remembered or anticipated experience rather that the experience itself (Plantinga, 2001). Here we can see that there is a difference between the relations of the ideas and matters that are fact (Collinson, 2000). Anything that is not derived through this process may be seen as speculation.

This is the reason for the rejection of many religious writings, as the propositions regarding God or the soul need to be rejected as they do not contain any sensory perceptions on which to base them. The result is that they do not fit on either side of the fork developed by Hume, where any meaningful proposition must be either necessarily true or contingently true.

To look at this we have logical acceptance on what is known to be true, or what may be proven to be true at a later date. What is necessarily true is a proposition that is able to be seen as true of false by virtue of the terms, alternatively it may be contingently true which it where it may not be either true of false. In considering this in the consideration of God and religion Hume defends his position with the following;

If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning regarding quantity or number? No. Does it contain and experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames;

for it can contain nothing but sophistry and Illusion "(Hume, 1737; XII, iii).

In looking at the formation of religion we can then see how the way that Hume argues we see things constantly in pairs, and as such seeing one thing creates the association with another, for example seeing a flame will lead us to expect that it is hot, in the end we start to say that the flame must be hot, and it is the flame that causes the heat (Collinson, 2000).

Hume tells us that this creation of the link of causality is due to the way in which the human mind works, and not as a result of real causality (Collinson, 2000). The result is the domination of instincts and not reason, we can see how this may also be applied to religion.

His idea of religion may also be seen as closer to naturalism rather than atheism. In this we can see that there…[continue]

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