A Demolition Of Descartes’s Meditations

A Demolition Of Descartes’s Meditations

Descartes's was wrong in more ways than one in his Meditations.

Rene Descartes's "Meditations on First Philosophy" is divided into six parts which serve as a broad demolition of his opinions in order to weed out false beliefs built on shaky ground by contemplating the reasoning behind them and from where the information is acquired. The philosopher's attempt renders him incapable of logically reconstructing his knowledge, for he refuses to define anything but himself with certainty, disregards his body's sensations and imaginations as false, misleading and useless, and he assumes there must be a higher power whose perfection consequently validates the existence of everything else despite the fact his proof is undeniably circular and therefore, incorrect (Descartes 533).

Descartes claims that original ideas cannot be untrue, that all understanding is good, and the abuse of free will is the cause of sin, yet he is unable to justify these beliefs without tracing them back to God. The method of doubt employed in all six meditations is heavily dependent on the philosopher's definition of 'clear and distinct ideas' as well as is his newly accepted facts which differentiate mind from body, understanding from imagination and extravagantly labels God as the epitome of perfection because objective reality follows formal reality as further explained by the causal principle (533). In summation, the "Meditations on First Philosophy" fail to prove Descartes's assertions that the mind can exist without the body, that God and/or being of a higher power truly exists and that clear and distinct thoughts exist in formal reality.

In Meditation One, Descartes accuses the senses of body – smell, taste, sound, touch, sight and so forth – of being unreliable, for they are "sometimes deceptive," and we should never "place our complete trust in those who have deceived us even once" (533). These sensations blur the lines between the real world and dreams and thus, according to Descartes, "there are no definitive signs by which to distinguish being awake from being asleep" though in Meditation Six as he notices the considerable difference between the two being that "dreams are never joined by the memory with all the other actions of life, as is the case with those actions that occur when one is awake" (534) (559).

However, that is not all, for the very fact that one can notice the slightest distinction between reality and dreams demonstrates that the two realms truly consist of discernible qualities – with reality perceived and interacted with by primarily by the conscious mind whereas the unconscious thoughts take over during sleep. The very fact that the two still can be distinguished from one another is enough to confirm that they are separate, clear and distinct ideas. Although the two worlds share overlapping traits such as, "at the very least the colors from which they fashion it ought to be true... it is from these components, as if from true colors, that all those images of things that are in our thought are fashioned, be they true or false" (534).

Hence, it can be concluded that some component of reality is involved in creating the imaginary, including corporeal nature, so it does not make sense when Descartes finds "physics, astronomy, medicine and all other disciplines that are dependent upon the consideration of composite things" as "doubtful" (534). This point can easily be refuted in physics by the theory of gravity which is considered theoretical because it has not been confirmed as universally applicable, and some cite the case of helium balloons which float upwards instead of being pulled down by gravitational force. Nevertheless, even the gas helium floats up due to the effect of gravity which, undeniably, affects every single living and non-living thing on the face of this Earth.

Yet, despite our recognition of gravity as a very real and actual force, it's still a theory according to scientific ruling but does that make it doubtful? No, gravity does not stop existing just because it doesn't fit into our specific scientific rulings. When Descartes chooses to mistrust not only complex sciences like physics but to also throw suspicion on mathematics which he are "the simplest and most general things which...contain something certain and indubitable" in order to entertain the thought that an evil deceiver – not omniscient God, for He is said to be supremely good – is misleading him, then even simplistic concepts like "two plus three makes five" or "a square does not have more than four sides" become "subject to the suspicion of being false" (534). The philosopher expresses fear of being not "unlike a prisoner who enjoyed an imaginary freedom during his sleep... dread being awakened," and that "certain laziness brings me back to my customary way of living" (535).

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything

I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

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The Best Decision I've Ever Made was doing Scientific Research

It opens up so many doors, and teaches you so much more about life then just what you're researching/


Growing up, I have always been interested in science and why things happen the way they do. I've always asked why, and I've always wanted to dig deeper into some questions and topics. This is a natural part of life that many people do, and honestly more people should do throughout their lives.

Asking questions is something that can lead to change and to more answers and clarity. How? Simply through research and finding answers to these questions by ourselves.

In high school, I took a Science Research course, and I took it for three years. I researched a question I had always wondered about, which was how to predict severe weather more accurately. I was scared of it, and I wanted to find a solution to better protect/prepare myself and the people around me.

I didn't quite find the answer I was looking for or any answer for lack thereof, but I learned some incredibly valuable life skills and values. One of them being how to easily overwhelm Microsoft Excel by putting a million data points (I am not exaggerating) and trying to make into a graph.

Jokes aside, one of the bigger lessons I learned through scientific research is how to persevere through something that is tough. Meteorology is not a common interest nor is it a populated field, so getting someone to mentor me in this project was incredibly difficult and getting data for my experiment was even harder. It's kind of weird how something that impacts all of us and everything doesn't have a lot more people in the field.

Also, it's complex and there isn't a lot of uniformity to it. It's hard to find control variables and to find things that stay constant throughout because the weather is one of those things that are constantly changing. That's not fun when you're trying to run an experiment and trying to see what causes something to happen.

This ties into another lesson I've learned through scientific research, I learned how to problem solve and how to be resourceful. My experiment was difficult to run because I only had access to a few places to get data. I had to use things that gave me a million data points because I had to use things that documented every minute for an entire year.

It was a lot, and it was difficult. However, with the help of mentors and teachers, I persevered, and I learned how to make the most of the limited resources available to me. I learned how to analyze these new graphs that I've never analyzed before.

I learned how to read in between the lines and interpret things that weren't clear. It was hard, but now I can apply these skills to everything else I do in life. I learned more than what was related to my topic in science research.

Scientific research is an imperative thing to do because it teaches so much more than just your topic matter. It can teach you about life, and it gives you life skills that you will need to use in almost every other aspect of life. I know it has given them to me.

The best part about scientific research is that it can lead to a breakthrough. You can change the world by asking a question and running an experiment on an answer to that question. It's so weird that something that seems so simple (it's not that simple, but anyone can do it), can have such a profound impact.

Research can be done in anything, it can be done things that aren't heavily science-based like marketing or it can be a scientific approach to ballet. If there's a question or a gap in anything, then there is a way to find that answer. That could be running an experiment of your own.

If you have the opportunity, do research. It will change not only your life but the lives around you because it could lead to a breakthrough. That breakthrough could be something that our world needs.

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