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Short Paper on Descartes - Essay Example

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This is in relation to his belief that there is no test that can tell whether a person is awake or not. Thus, Descartes will conclude that the pinch test as unreliable test for the awake of a…
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Descartes Argumentation to the “Pinch Test” When you pinch yourself and affirm you are awake, Descartes will prove it in two ways. This is in relation to his belief that there is no test that can tell whether a person is awake or not. Thus, Descartes will conclude that the pinch test as unreliable test for the awake of a person.
Descartes will make the above conclusion because of the experiences associated with dreaming. According to him, human beings experience some feelings in life when awake as well as when dreaming. In support of his claim, it is apparent that people get tricked with some thoughts similar to those experienced when awake while asleep. For instance, it is apparent that some people have had a dream associated with instillation of pain such as the stubbing of the stomach. In relation to this assertion, Descartes believes that the pain felt by some people when dreaming is likely the same pain they will feel when awake. It is as a result of this that people fail to distinguish between the dream world and the actual world (UA 1, 2011). This broad explanation proves the reason as to why Descartes will make his conclusion about the pinch test as the unreliable test for the awake of a person.
Although Descartes explanation manages to relate the happenings in the dream land with those in the actual world, it is apparent his argument against the pinch test does not rule out the pinch test as the best test for the awake of a person. This is in connection with the processes associated with pinching oneself. It is evident that the mind takes part in the pinching act. In relation to this claim, it is impossible for a person who is asleep to pinch himself or herself in order to determine if they are awake. When one is asleep, he or she thinks of either the daily happening or fantasize on other things in life. Such thoughts will not give one room to ascertain if they are awake through use of the pinch test. The thinking processes associated with pinching oneself is by itself one of the reliable tests for one’s awake. In tandem with this assertion, one can affirm that the pain instilled through pinching makes one to realize that he or she is awake. This because the pain insulted by the pinch is communicated by the nervous system to the brain which as a result ascertain that a person is awake.
In conclusion, Descartes double standard argument for the pinch test is in relation to his association of the dream land incidents with the real incidents. It is because of the similarity in occurrence of things that Descartes claims that pinch test is unreliable test for awake. However, the pinch test is one of the reliable tests for awake since it is associated with specific processes that involve the mind and body parts. The movement of the hand to insult a pain through a pinch makes one realize he or she is awake. Thus, pinch test is a reliable test for determining if you are awake.
Reference
UA 1. Central Problems in Philosophy: Descartes’ First Meditations. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.jimpryor.net/teaching/courses/intro/notes/meditation1.html Read More
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