The oldest child, Pierre, died soon after his birth on October 19, His sister, Jeanne, was probably born sometime the following year, while his surviving older brother, also named Pierre, was born on October 19, The Descartes clan was a bourgeois family composed of mostly doctors and some lawyers. Joachim Descartes fell into this latter category and spent most of his career as a member of the provincial parliament.
Themes, Arguments, and Ideas The Unreliability of Sense Perception Descartes did not believe that the information we receive through our senses is necessarily accurate.
After the revelation he experienced on November 10,Descartes undertook his own intellectual rebirth. His first step was to throw out everything he thought he knew, refusing to believe in even the most basic premises before proving them to himself satisfactorily.
In this act of demolition and reconstruction, Descartes felt it would be a waste of time to tear down each idea individually. Instead, he attacked what he considered the very foundation: He developed several arguments to illustrate this point.
In the Dream argument, Descartes argues that he often dreams of things that seem real to him while he is asleep.
In one dream, he sits by a fire in his room, and it seems he can feel the warmth of the fire, just as he feels it in his waking life, even though there is no fire. Likewise, in the Deceiving God and Evil Demon arguments, Descartes suggests that, for all he knows, he may be under the control of an all-powerful being bent on deceiving him.
In that case, he does not have a body at all but is merely a brain fed information and illusions by the all-powerful being.
Fans of the Matrix films may recognize this concept. Descartes does not intend these arguments to be taken literally. His point is to demonstrate that the senses can be deceived. At the time Descartes cast doubt on the reliability of sense perception, it was a radical position.
He was proposing that scientific observation had to be an interpretive act requiring careful monitoring. They believed that all knowledge comes to us through the senses. Descartes and his followers argued the opposite, that true knowledge comes only through the application of pure reason.
Science Based on Reason Although Descartes mistrusted the information received through the senses, he did believe that certain knowledge can be acquired by other means, arguing that the strict application of reason to all problems is the only way to achieve certainty in science.
In Rules for the Direction of the Mind, Descartes argues that all problems should be broken up into their simplest parts and that problems can be expressed as abstract equations.
Descartes hopes to minimize or remove the role of unreliable sense perception in the sciences. If all problems are reduced to their least sense-dependent and most abstract elements, then objective reason can be put to work to solve the problem.
By creating a two-dimensional graph on which problems could be plotted, he developed a visual vocabulary for arithmetic and algebraic ideas. In other words, he made it possible to express mathematics and algebra in geometric forms.The dream argument is designed to call into question the existence of the material world.
The reason that Descartes creates the dream argument is for the sake of calling into doubt sensory judgments; these are judgments about material things. - In “Bad Dreams, Evil Demons, and the Experience Machine: Philosophy and the Matrix”, Christopher Grau explains Rene Descartes argument in Meditation.
What one may interpret as reality may not be more than a figment of one’s imagination. According to Descartes’ dream argument there are no definite signs to distinguish dream experience from waking experience. Born in Touraine, France, René Descartes () was a highly influential philosopher, mathematician, and scientist.
As stated above he cannot state his position as if he is dreaming, so there goes the premises argument. So if this is not a valid argument, then perhaps there is a way to revise my interpretation on Descartes’ Dream argument so it turns out to be a valid argument.
For Descartes, the fact that everybody has this innate idea of a supremely perfect God is in itself, proof of his existence; and the fact that this is an a priori argument, makes this argument appealing for all rationalists, as it relies on knowledge, and not sense experience – which Descartes never trusted.
Philosophy 14 November Critique of Descartes’ Dream Argument Descartes has written a set of six meditations on the first philosophy. In these meditations he analyzes his beliefs and questions where those beliefs were derived from.