Descartes And Doubt - Of Term Paper

Length: 4 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Black Studies - Philosophy Type: Term Paper Paper: #53068476 Related Topics: Rene Descartes, Meditation, Deception, Plagiarism
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Carrying it to the next logical step, he says that all opinions are false until proven otherwise, and perhaps it is not he himself who is responsible for his own deception, but rather it is "some deceitful demon" who is so clever and capable that he can blur the reality of "the sky, the air, the earth" into a dream or illusion.

Meantime, Williams writes that Descartes is the kind of intelligent being who really enjoys peace of mind and clarity; and hence, Williams asserts that Descartes is disturbed by "...his awareness of various problems and puzzles" (Williams 119). Because Descartes is always determined to seek the truth in all matters, his initial state "can quite properly be described as one of doubt or uncertainty."

And this writer agrees with Williams' concerns as he continues; "Doubt is the state in which we want to know the truth but cannot decide where it lies." And yet, rather than produce results that are fulfilling, Descartes' doubt produces "a lively sense that no disputes are ever resolvable," Williams explains, which is very believable and this writer believes that point is probably the main focus of the whole Meditation I. No disputes, no serious questions and doubts, can every be fully explained or resolved.

I think that is one of the most powerful themes of Meditation I; we in the 21st Century especially tend to believe so much of what is presented to us. We want to believe our political leaders, and then when we do we find out they aren't always telling the truth. If we had used the Descartes method of questions and doubting, we would have held off our faithful believing until it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt that we could trust that political leader.

The same with our other so-called leaders - in literature, in music, in sports - we too often find out that writers use plagiarism and musicians use lip-sync and sports heroes use steroids. This doesn't happen every time, but it does happen, and we get sucked into the deception because we didn't...


119) wonders why Descartes' failure to bring his "inquiries to a definite conclusion" doesn't "intensify his disquiet." Williams then adds that the very process of acquiring his "distinctive skeptical capacities...eliminates the urge to really know how things are." Another point that Williams makes in his book (p. 120) - which is easy to agree with and adhere to - is that Descartes confronts his own skepticism in a context where "his fundamental motive... [is] the urge to know," not to just be a constant doubter. It isn't the doubts, but the search for what is true, that drives Descartes in Meditation I.

As to the demon that Descartes introduces towards the end of Meditation I, critic Robert Wachbrit (Journal of the History of Ideas) asserts that Descartes was not offering a "...skeptical argument when he invented his demon." The demon, Wachbrit continues, quoting Henri Gouhier, "...has no metaphysical significance; it is purely a methodological artifice which permits doubt to continue..."

Wachbrit believes that Descartes himself would likely have been "surprised" at some of the scholarly interpretations that have been made about his demon; the philosopher would probably have been "not at all sympathetic" to the use of the demon in scholarly works, when used to embrace the real meaning of skepticism.

But for this writer, the aspect of Meditation I that has the most appeal, as stated earlier in the paper, is that doubting is healthy. Not purely being skeptical for the sake of being a curmudgeon or a "stick in the mud"; but to question every statement by every teacher and leader first, and after careful analysis to then accept that statement, is an alert and wise way to proceed in this world of myriad deceptions in just about every aspect of our lives.

Works Cited

Descartes, Rene. The Meditations and Selections from The Principles of Rene Descartes.

Translated by John Veitch). United States: Paquin Printers, 1968.

Wachbrit, Robert. "Cartesian Skepticism from Bare Possibility." Journal of the History of Ideas 57.1 (1996): 109-129.

Williams, Michael. "Descartes and the Metaphysics of Doubt." Essays on Descartes'

Meditations. Ed.…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Descartes, Rene. The Meditations and Selections from The Principles of Rene Descartes.

Translated by John Veitch). United States: Paquin Printers, 1968.

Wachbrit, Robert. "Cartesian Skepticism from Bare Possibility." Journal of the History of Ideas 57.1 (1996): 109-129.

Williams, Michael. "Descartes and the Metaphysics of Doubt." Essays on Descartes'

Cite this Document:

"Descartes And Doubt - Of" (2006, December 10) Retrieved September 17, 2021, from

"Descartes And Doubt - Of" 10 December 2006. Web.17 September. 2021. <>

"Descartes And Doubt - Of", 10 December 2006, Accessed.17 September. 2021,

Purpose of

The documents we provide are to be used as a sample, template, outline, guideline in helping you write your own paper, not to be used for academic credit. All users must abide by our "Student Honor Code" or you will be restricted access to our website.

Related Documents
Descartes, Meditations the Strategy the
Words: 721 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Black Studies - Philosophy Paper #: 85878295

In other words, yes he has found doubt in everything, but he now sees that his finding doubt in everything is something. Because he doubts, he must exist! He could doubt everything his senses told him. He could even doubt he had a body. But he could not doubt he had a mind because if he did not have a mind, how could he doubt? The steps Descartes takes to

Descartes' Meditation God Is /
Words: 559 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Black Studies - Philosophy Paper #: 76301108

Perfection might exist in a more general picture, one that brings together imperfect beings and where everyone contributes to making flawlessness. According to the Meditator, people have to focus on society and the world as a whole instead of only being interested in themselves. God's perfection is, according to the Meditator, translated into humans through the fact that they have free will, both God and people being unlimited from this

Descartes Meditation Mediation in This
Words: 806 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Art  (general) Paper #: 29606832

And on the same principle, although these general objects, viz. [a body], eyes, a head, hands, and the like, be imaginary, we are nevertheless absolutely necessitated to admit the reality at least of some other objects still more simple and universal than these, of which, just as of certain real colors, all those images of things, whether true and real, or false and fantastic, that are found in our consciousness

Descartes' Meditations, Senses, and Rationalism
Words: 1160 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Black Studies - Philosophy Paper #: 20935472

If this is true, then thoughts that mankind form -- principles of morality and knowledge of a rational life -- are determined solely by reason because the Creator allowed Man to have that capability which then must mean that the capability produces truth. To prove these ideas, Cartesian Rationality asks the reader to take formal steps into the manner of analysis and development within the ideological process. In six

Descartes Meditations by the Time
Words: 1722 Length: 5 Pages Topic: Black Studies - Philosophy Paper #: 79861076

In stark contrast, these things do not happen in the 'waking' world (LaBossiere 2). While there are many other differences, these two standards show that even though I might not be able to know the true natures of these two worlds, there are good reasons for assuming that the "waking" world is fundamentally different from the "dream" world. Given this ability to distinguish "waking" from "dreaming," it must be

Descartes "Meditations..." Meditations on First
Words: 637 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Black Studies - Philosophy Paper #: 61852766

" With that statement, Descartes proves his five-step theory that proves he exists because he is, in his words, "a thinking thing." Third Meditation have explained at sufficient length the principal argument of which I make use in order to prove the existence of God," Descartes claims. He claims that the idea of God is placed in us by God and that, if he (Descartes) exists there must have been a