In this book I will make known to you the different views of different philosophers concerning some certain issues. So I want you for follow me rapidly. And I will also put up little argument of some great philosopher. As we go on this paper I will make some reference to some of the philosophers am talking about such as – Discourse on the method of the starting place for any discussion of Descartes’s view on how science is to be developed, for in it he tells us how reason goes about its successful pursuit of truth in any area in which truth is accessible to the human mind.
The Discourse, in other words, present a functional definition of reason, where I use ‘reason’ in its broadest sense as the human ability to intuit, deduce, and in the context of these processes to make proper use of imagination, sensation, and memory. Following closely in importance is meditations, for there we encounter Descartes’s attempt to provide the metaphysical justification for his account of the mind’s abilities which make correct scientific procedures possible. One measure of a book’s importance is the extent to which it is taken seriously by the author’s contemporaries.
Descartes’s Meditations was taken very seriously indeed. Published in 1641, it was accompanied by responses from some of the most eminent thinkers of the day, among them Thomas Hobbes and Antoine Arnauld. The Meditations has exerted formative influence over Western thought and action ever since. The willingness of a philosopher such as Hobbes and a theologian like Arnauld to be involved in this venture of the Meditations’ publication was no doubt related to the impact of Descartes’s Discourse on the method, published four years earlier.
Descartes against the Skeptics We can distinguish two kinds of skeptical perspectives on some domain of beliefs. One kind of skeptic claims that the beliefs in question are false. Such a skeptic might do this by arguing that the beliefs are internally incoherent or contradictory, or by presenting independent arguments for a thesis which contradicts them. We have seen sceptical arguments of this kind from McTaggart and Bradley, who argued that our ordinary beliefs about, e. g. , things existing in time or things standing in relations to each other are false.
For lack of a better term, we can call this metaphysical skepticism. A second kind of skeptic might not argue directly that the beliefs in question are false, but only argue that they are unjustified. For example, a skeptic of this kind about the existence of God might not argue that God does not exist, but only that we have no good reason to believe that God exists. When an intelligent observer might view the existing state of science with mixed feelings. The medieval world picture, with its blend of Aristotelian physics and Ptolemaic astronomy, was crumbling.
The Newtonian system which was ultimately to replace it was yet to be formulated. Some of the elements which were to make the Newtonian system were already available. As early as 1543 Copernicus had formulated a heliocentric astronomy. During the years in which Descartes was being schooled by the Jesuits at La Fleche, Kepler was working out his law of planetary moting, and Galileo was making, with his new telescope, the discoveries Descartes was to write to enthusiastically about in the opening lines of his Dioptrique:
“The whole conduct of our life depends on our sense, among which sight is the most comprehensive and noble; there is no doubt that the inventions which serve to increase its power are the most useful there can be. And it is difficult to find any invention which increase the power of sight more than do those marvellous telescopes, which have revealed, in the short time they have been in use, more new stars in the heavens… than have ever been seen there before. (AT VI, 80-81; Olscamp, 65)” Nevertheless, Descartes recognized that much work remained to be done.
That admirable instrument had been stumbled on by chance, not invented by following a proper scientific method. And so long as its construction lay in the hands of men who did not understand the principles of optics, it would remain imperfect. So it was necessary to study optics. But it is characteristic of Descartes that he conceived this study very broadly. It was concerned not only with the behaviour of light rays but also with the laws of mechanics which explain that behaviour, and with the physiology of vision. This passion for a system, for a unified science work. And it did respond to a need in the science of his day.
Recent work by historians of science, like T. S Kuhn, has emphasized that acceptance of the new ideas was, properly, very gradual, that many problems remained unsolved, and that the new astronomy could not triumph until it was fitted into a satisfactory general theory, which included a new mechanics, with out going too far with this issue it is very obvious that the two skeptical scenarios that Descartes discussed so far, and without saying much is clear that existence of God is not an issue to discuss. How exactly does Moore argue against scepticism about the external world?
Applying that crucial question to any specific argument for idealism concerning the external world, Moore thought it scarcely left room for debate. Since, the reality of time, is directly entailed by something Moore already knows to be true (that he did have his breakfast before he had lunch), the culprit must be one of the other members of the inconsistent set; it must be one of the premises that is false. It may be interesting to continue our plausibility survey and decide which of the Pi is less plausible than the rest; in fact, surely it will be instructive and illuminating to do that.
But that is not necessary in order to vindicate our common-sense belief in the reality of time. For the latter philosophical purpose, it does not matter which of the Pi is false. In fact, we do not even have to know what the argument’s premises are exactly; whatever they are, they cannot all be true. The idealist was doomed from the start. Let us look vivid through external objects. The reality of material objects is entailed by something Moore already knows to be true, that he has hands; so any philosophical argument designed to show that there is no external world must be unsound, period.
Moore concerning the external world — I have deliberately made Moore sound closed-minded, dogmatic, pigheaded. And many philosophers have rejected his style of argument on just that ground, finding it obvious that Moore is just begging the question against his opponent and pretty crassly too. But it is important to see that Moore is doing no such thing. He is only modestly inviting a plausibility comparison. The comparison is, in effect, between (a) “I had my breakfast before I had lunch” and (b) a purely philosophical premise such as McTaggart’s assumption, “Temporal modes such as pastness and futurity are monadic properties of events.
” Come, now: How could a proposition like (b) be considered as plausible as (a)? How could I possibly be more certain that “temporal modes are monadic properties of events,” than that I had breakfast before I had lunch today? (In the case of external objects, the comparison is between “Here is one hand and here is another” and, in one case (McTaggart also), “Every existent thing has proper parts that are substances. “) These are no-brainers.
What is the fundamental difference between the approaches that Descartes and Moore take toward the nature of knowledge? Famously, Descartes defines knowledge in terms of doubt. While distinguishing rigorous knowledge (scientia) and lesser grades of conviction (persuasio), Descartes writes: I distinguish the two as follows: there is conviction when there remains some reason which might lead us to doubt, but knowledge is conviction based on a reason so strong that it can never be shaken by any stronger reason.
(1640 letter, AT 3:64-65) Elsewhere, while answering a challenge as to whether he succeeds in founding such knowledge, Descartes writes: But since I see that you are still stuck fast in the doubts which I put forward in the First Meditation, and which I thought I had very carefully removed in the succeeding Meditations, I shall now expound for a second time the basis on which it seems to me that all human certainty can be founded. First of all, as soon as we think that we correctly perceive something, we are spontaneously convinced that it is true.
Now if this conviction is so firm that it is impossible for us ever to have any reason for doubting what we are convinced of, then there are no further questions for us to ask: we have everything that we could reasonably want. For the supposition which we are making here is of a conviction so firm that it is quite incapable of being destroyed; and such a conviction is clearly the same as the most perfect certainty. (Replies 2, AT 7:144-45) Conclusion
For all we have discussed so far might be as well at this point to try to reconstruct Descartes’ proof for the existence of God using the materials which he says is enough to come to the conclusion that God necessarily exists. A conclusion that is a premise which is sufficiently controversial to require argument for its truth can also be marked by drawing a line at the end of the list of premises which support that intermediate conclusion. So any philosophical argument designed to show that there is no external world must be unsound, period. From the few point enumerated earlier has concluded that there is external world.Sample Essay of EduBirdie.com