The Descartes Method of Doubt - Essay Example

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The Descartes Method of Doubt
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The Descastes’ Method of Doubt Rene Descartes is one of the most significant philosophers in history based on his contributions to science. He is referred to as the Father of Modern Philosophy with renowned works such as Meditation on First Philosophy, the Cartesian coordinate system, the Discourse on the Method and Principles of Philosophy (Williams 1-17). One of the most important philosophical views presented by Descartes is the Method of Doubt, which part of his views. Descartes’ Method of Doubt began with his view that knowledge is private and that everything is constantly in doubt. With this he expressed that there is a continuous quest for disproving doubts about knowledge which can only be acted upon through a man’s reflective thought, thus, man can only trust his own reflective thought. Though his views can be considered subjective, the drive to seek knowledge and to prove different concepts had been recognized related to doubt (Gillespie 761). Descartes manner of seeking knowledge was corresponding to the scientific method which starts with a problem. His scientific queries started with doubt, but not with self doubt. He stated that ideas that had been reflected from his mind were presented and simply stated without prejudice. Then the questions were divided into specific questions that can be clearly answered. The reflective process was then applied to each query on the basis of difficulty or the preset order. Upon the completion of specific ideas, the generalized views were then achieved (Williams 18). Descartes trust on reflective thought is the first principle where he based the subsequent views (Gillespie 761). In his First Meditations, he raised grounds for doubting beliefs in everyday existence. Examples of the arguments presented by Descartes are lunacy and God arguments which raised doubts on opposing groups of believers (Broughton 1). In the process of raising doubts, his main objective is to achieve absolute certainty. In addition, he focused on the method of inquiry because he believed that if doubts on the method of seeking knowledge were eliminated, certainty can be achieved (Broughton 1). In Descartes’ Discourse he presented the Method of Doubt as the method used in the investigation of the foundations of philosophy (Broughton 1). The application of the said though was not limited to philosophy since he also used the method in mathematical research and queries (p. 5). What then is the main aim of Descartes in the establishment of the method? The Method of Doubt is the method of Descartes in the conception of knowledge. His views mean that knowledge should be uncertain and it should lack any form of doubt. For that matter, he raised doubts and uncertainty to be answered and to be eliminated (Broughton 7-8). His main aim then is to achieve concepts that cannot be doubted and refuted. Descartes’ skepticism is another point of query because of his view on raising doubt and the application of skepticism in scientific and philosophical inquiries. Based on his view though, his intentions of proving knowledge by raising doubts and skepticism were not because he was a skeptic. Based on the researches on the Method of Doubt by Descartes, the skepticism can be considered as a positive element since it can make scientists face the doubts associated with the quest for knowledge. Instead of moving away from the doubts, they were tackled head-on and resolved (Perin 52). Conclusion The Method of Doubt by Descartes had contributed significantly to the method of scientific, mathematical and philosophical inquiry and research in modern era. Being a skeptic or not had been an important element in Descartes achievements into becoming the Father of Modern Philosophy. Works Cited: Broughton, Janet. Descartes’s Method of Doubt. Princeton University Press, 2002. Gillespie, Alex. “Descartes’ Demon: A Dialogical Analysis of Meditations on First Philosophy.” Theory & Psychology 16.6 (2006): 761-81. Perin, Casey. “Descartes and the Legacy of Ancient Skepticism.” A Companion to Descartes. Ed. Janet Broughton and John Carriero. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2008. 52-65 Williams, Bernard Arthur Owen. Descartes: The Project of Inquiry. Routledge, 2005. Read More
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