Discussion Analyses January 21, 2015 Rene Descartes: Meditation 1 an d2
1. Identify the author’s essay thesis, i.e. the position the author supports on the topic. Descartes begins to question and place doubt on all the beliefs that come to us from senses. He basically questions is it knowledge and if so what makes it different from opinion.
2. Identify the position against which the essay’s author argues. Descartes uses three very similar arguments to open all our knowledge to doubt: The dream argument, the deceiving God argument, and the evil demon argument. He takes what he learned in meditation 1 and keeps building on his beliefs.
3. State the data, e.g. reasons/facts/evidence, the author provides to support her/his position on the issue. (You should provide in one sentence or more, the main point of each of the essay’s paragraphs in the essay since each paragraph usually is a premise in the author’s argument for his conclusion.) For the dream argument Descartes brings up that he often has perceptions very much like the ones he usually has in sensation while dreaming. He states that there are no definite signs to distinguish dream experiences from waking experiences. He questioned ….. He could be sleeping right now and all of his perceptions could be false. In the deceiving God argument Descartes really turns up the questions. He suggests that we all believe in this powerful God who has created us and who is all powerful. Descartes points out that God has it in his power to deceive us even about matters of mathematical knowledge which we seem to see clearly. And question f it’s possible that we are deceived even in our mathematical knowledge of the basic structure of the world. The evil demon argument he then brings up that instead of assuming that God is the source of our deceptions , we will assume that there exists an evil demon, who is capable of deceiving us in the same way we supposed God could. So he then comes with reason to doubt the totality of what his senses tell him as well as the mathematical knowledge. Descartes argues to figure the essence of wax he ask if it’s by senses, by imagination or by the mind alone. Because he can touch it is it real?
4. State the data, e.g. reasons/facts/evidence, the author gives for why the opposed