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How Descartes uses skepticism to refute skepticism.

How Descartes uses skepticism to refute skepticism.

Explain (1) the process by
which Descartes uses skepticism to refute skepticism, and (2) what first
principle does this lead him to? (3) Explain why this project was
important for Descartes to accomplish.

Descartes attempts to understand the nature and substance of the human being knowledge through skepticism. Though, he reexamined his system of beliefs by investigating the ones that has doubtful foundations in his meditations. Doubt is the main tool Descartes is using all over the first two meditations. Their main purpose is to find a peace of mind and answer any skeptical questions about the external world in a rational context.

Descartes disbelief is observed as its major factor compared to other traditional skeptics. According to Grene, M., Descartes was a hyperbolical-methodological skeptic unlike the former ones (p.556). In fact, his skepticism doubts not only bodily things but also takes a universal form. It does not only questions events and experiences but also the existence of the world. On the other hand, Al Ghazali was a dogmatic skeptic who never questioned his existence as Descartes. Grene, M. states that the traditional skeptics would not dare doubting the existence of the external world (p.556). Their main emphasis would be the investigation of specified kind of truths and beliefs. Even though, his skepticism was mainly a tool to reach certainty.

Consequently, he aimed to refute that skepticism to have his goal but had not been effective at all times (Grene, M. p.558). Descartes emphasizes a universal skepticism in his first two meditations through a hyperbolic doubt as a main tool to reach certainty.

Within the first meditation entitled “What can be known as into doubt”, Doubt is offered high value by René Descartes. He starts by discussing that his life was built on a large number of falsehoods that he has believed all his life and accepted as true (p.12). He used hyperbolic doubt or the method of exaggerated hyperbole that aims to reject any opinion that is doubtful.

This general question placed on carry all of the concepts which are not certain. Therefore, his knowledge was false since it was built up from this faultiness. Descartes decided though to demolish any opinion that could be questionable and uncertain and to build his knowledge on more certain foundations (p.12). He decided to sweep away his former beliefs that have any sign of doubt to build a new knowledge based on certain grounds. Examining each idea individually would be an endless process; therefore, Descartes would reject the ones that their basic principles and foundations are doubtful. He attempts to convey that even our beliefs of evident things can be uncertain

In accordance with Landesman C., Descartes asserts that “if any section of the foundations must be lower than a number of, it would throw uncertainty upon the rest of the elements linked to it” (p.71). Even a slightest doubt in the foundations would lead to uncertainty and skepticism of the argument. As a result, a proposition that is somehow or probably true is a false one because of the small uncertainty of it and because “probability does not exclude falsehood” (Landesman C., p.72).

Simply being persuaded that it is accurate, will not be enough to show the proposal is true when the floor basic principle is fake. Such strategy was mainly aimed to find the false ideas and reject them to build a more truthful knowledge free from doubt.

Descartes and Al Ghazali both tried to reach truth by refuting skepticism. Al ghazali went also through the crisis of doubting and tried to seek the true knowledge. Albertini,T. said that Al Ghazali wanted to achieve certainty by “purging one’s mind of opinions and beliefs that have been adopted from youth without ever being questioned” (p.5). He is appointing that our knowledge that is not based on conviction and imposed by our parents and society can be false (p.55). He was seeking knowledge that could not be overturned by the miracle maker. Therefore, only Fitra, the born belief in God, would be recovered and adopted. Both Al Ghazali and

Descartes seek out certainty and correct understanding. However, Al Ghazali never tried to question his existence as Descartes did in the first meditations. Both of them link knowledge to God Albertini,T. stated (p.8).

Descartes asserts that feelings are definitely the method to obtain his expertise. He clarifies that all that he has accepted as true was acquired from the senses or through them (p.12). The sense perception provides us with the nature of things. They are our source of information of the outside world, which build the knowledge of the objects that surround us. However, senses can deceive us he states. This was exemplified in the first meditation by the example of the contrary appearances that we are confronted to. Something that looks different from a distance than when close up.

Al Ghazali also advocated precisely the same perception of feelings deception. Here, he provided the example of the star and the fact that it looks small. However, thanks to astronomic demonstration, it can be proven that it is even bigger that the earth (p.56). Sense judgment can then be subverted by reason. Therefore, “the thought thus engendered may be mistaken due to such inaccuracies of representation” (Landesman C., p.79). Moreover, Grene, M. mentioned that Descartes wants us to dismiss senses (p.561). Senses should not be trusted though, are not reliable and make us unable of locating the truth. Appearances are deceptive and can disorient our judgment from real truths.

The knowledge received due to senses will then be much less powerful as we considered, therefore we should steer clear of sensory faculties and depend on your mind. Nevertheless, Landesman C. states that Descartes skepticism here was defeated in the sense that he was not able to refute the idea that he was sitting by the fire holding a piece of paper in his hands (p.79). Indeed, Descartes was experiencing a situation in which denying its existence and perceptions is difficult. He could ask anyone but will get the same feedback and no one can deny the fact that he is holding a newspaper in his hands because of what Landesman C. called “privileged perceptual judgment”(p.79). There is no way to prove that this experience is prone to error unless you consider the

Descartes dream argument

The aspiration case of Descartes uncertainties the privileged perceptual judgement making in our life. He uses dreams as way to discuss that all what we think is true can be uncertain (p.13). This mainly shows that we, the human beings, are helpless and powerless creatures. Descartes argues that we cannot differentiate between being awake and asleep (p.13); thus, the experiences we are having can be part of a dream. We would then be incapable of judging those events as true.

Even so, how can we separate those two states in order to find the true values in the false types? Landesman C. stated that when one is dreaming, he or she does not belief that he or she is dreaming and the same when one is awake (p.81). As a result, identifying the true beliefs based on the argument of the dream will not be very possible. The inability to differentiate between the state of being asleep and awake makes our knowledge of the external world uncertain.

Based on Al Ghazali, irrespective of how absurd situations in goals, we understanding these are real (p.57). Therefore, he also agrees with Descartes that rational ideas can be subverted the same way and be subject to uncertainty under the dream premise. He also added the idea that there is no sign to differentiate between being asleep or awake (p.57). Landesman C. explains that the dream argument of Descartes does not only doubt the current perceptual judgments, but also the past ones (p.88). Hence, our knowledge that resulted from past events is subject to uncertainty.

Furthermore, when one ambitions he or she is motivated from actuality, then the desire debate does not have guarantee. If the person dreams of a cat, he will imagine that it has the same bodily parts as in the reality. Those basic things are not evident to question; like geometry and mathematics unless the demon argument stands. Moreover, the idea of the universal dream suggest that all what we are experiencing are part of a dream. Thus, there would be no awake state and reference for true knowledge.